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" The restraining grace of common-sense is the mark of all the valid minds, 
— of ^sop, Aristotle, Alfred, Luther, Shakspcare, Cervantes, Franklin, — the 
common-sense which docs not meddle with the absolute, but takes things at their 
word, — things as they appear." — Emeeson : Poetry and Imaijiiiation. 


©ItJ Corner Bookstore 

' .♦* J 'COPTRIGHT, 1882, 

Bt grace a. OLIVER. 

iPranWin l^m^ : 




"Countess Dora d'Istria," 









Happy hours of childhood passed in reading the 
"Parent's Assistant," "Frank," and "Early Lessons," 
were followed by years in which I enjoyed the Moral 
and Fashionable Tales. "Ennui," too, had its invalua- 
ble lesson, — that the pursuit of pleasiu-e as an occupation 
can only result in misery and mental and moral destruc- 
tion. As one of the thousands who have laughed at the 
wit and cried over the pathos of Maria Edgeworth's 
works, I desired to know something of the personal his- 
tory of this gifted woman. 

Inquiries soon revealed the fact that, there was no 
adequate sketch of Miss Edgeworth. Mrs. S. C. Hall 
had drawn a picture of her during a few days' visit at her 
home. Miss Julia Kavanagh had written a brief sketch 
for her biographies of English "Women of Letters. Mr. 
Hayward, in preparing a review of the Memoir pub- 
lished by the Edgeworths, gave the longest biographical 
and critical sketch of her as yet attempted ; but it was 
only a review article, not sufficient in itself to appear 
alone. The biographical sketches of her in magazines, 
etc., amounted to very little, being at best brief and 


A thorough survey of contemporaneous literature gave 
here and there an interesting mention of Miss Eclgeworth ; 
and I have gleaned carefully what seemed of value from 
various sources. 

Full and exhaustive criticisms of her works in the 
great reviews of the day, and the magazines and papers, 
leave nothing to be desired on that score. She was 
awarded a first rank in the lists of novel-writers ; and, 
though time may have lessened the readers of her Ijooks, 
their influence on literature is quite evident from the 
constant references to her in the writings of English, 
American, and Continental authors. 

This Study has its limitations and shortcomings ; but 
great labor and much time have been expended on it, and 
an earnest desire has prompted its plan and execution, 
— that of offering something to the public about one of 
its great story-tellers. 

Miss Edgeworth has been allowed to tell her own story 
as much as possible. Undoubtedly a much smaller book 
could have been made if the present style of brief biogra- 
phies had been adopted ; but there is still a prejudice in 
my mind in favor of original letters, etc. There is some- 
thmg personal in the touches of life so added. 

I have received aid and encouragement from my family 
and friends during the years of work and waiting since 
this sketch was begun. To Mr. Justin Winsor I am 
indebted for the free use of the Public Library during 
his tenure of office, when he dispensed the treasures of 
that institution with a judicious and generous hospitality. 


]\[r. "W. H. Forbes has generously given me the iUus- 
trntions for the book, which are capital reproductions of 
the engravings and cuts done by his albcrtype process. 
The last time I ever saw my genial friend INIr. James 
T. Fields, his parting words were very encouraging as 
to my work ; and he always felt a warm interest in the 

I must also acknowledge the kindness of W. Morris 
Beaufort, Esq., of London, who hunted for "The Mental 
Thermometer" in the British Museum Library; and also 
found there M. Pictet's account of his visit, and made 
copies of the same. To the courtesy of Miss Peabody, 
daughter of F. H. Peabody, Esq., I am indebted for the 
letter to her grandfather, which I print. Other friends 
have kept the subject in view, and I have been urged to 
continue what often seemed a very great undertaking. 
Mr. Avery L. Rand, of Messrs. Rand, Avery, & Co., and 
Mr. Cupples, of Messrs. A. Williams & Co., have inter- 
ested themselves very kindly in the work, and made the 
details of printing and publishing as easy as possible 
for me. 

Only those who write for the public know how difficult 
it is to please the general reader, how much more diffi- 
cult to satisfy themselves. It has been a great pleasure 
and interest to study the works and survey the life of 
Maria Edgeworth, and I hope this may find readers 
among those who love the name and memory of one who 
consecrated her best efforts to the public good. She was 
one of those noble spirits who belong to all nations. 


Her writings may pass out of siglit, but her influence 
will long be felt. 

These lines of our poet Stedmau well describe her 
power : — 

" No woman's head so keen to work its will, 
But that the woman's heart is mistress still." 


"Red Gables," Swampscott, 
October, 1882. 



Introduction. — Settlement of the Edgeworths in Ireland. — 
Sketches and Anecdotes of the Family. — Marriage of Rich- 
ard Edgeworth. — Birth of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. — 
Early Years. — Schools. — Visits England. — Warwick. — 
Bath. —Returns to Ireland. —Anecdotes. — Mock Marriage. 
—Years of Idleness. — Dublin University. — Enters Oxford. 

— Acquaintance with the Elers Family. — A Tragic Story . 1 


Visits his Parents at Bath. — Runaway Marriage. — Receives 
his Father's Forgiveness. — Visits Ireland with his "Wife. 

— Death of his Mother. —Return to England. — Settles at 
Hare Hatch. — Occupations. — His Wife's Management.— 
Son horn. — Enters the Temple, and studies for the Bar. 

— Maria born. — Mr. Edgeworth's Visit to Lichfield. — 
The Lichfield Coterie — Dt. Darwin. — Anna Seward. —The 
Misses Sneyd. — Thomas Day. — Other Friendships formed 
with Mr. Keir, Dr. Small, Mr. Watt, Mr. Wedgwood, and 
Mr. Bolton. — Day's Admiration for Miss Honora Sneyd. — 
Her Rejection. — Transfers his Affections to her Sister 
Elizabeth. — He adopts Two Girls. — Mr. Edgeworth inher- 
its his Paternal Estates. — He becomes desperately in Love 
with Miss Honora Sneyd 25 

Mr. Day and Mr. Edgeworth visit France, accompanied by 
Young Richard. — Richard's Education. — Residence in 
France. — Employment there. — Mrs. Edgeworth's Death. — 
Mr. Edgeworth returns to England. — Second Marriage.— 
Maria goes to Ireland with Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth — Life 
there. — They return to England. — Mr. Day's Marriage. — 
Mr. Edgeworth's Irish Journey. — Mrs. Edgeworth's Illness. 


—Maria sent to Boarding-Scliool. — Mrs. Edgeworth's Death. 

— Maria's First Literary Worls. — Her Removal to a London 
Boarding-School 49 

Mr. Edgeworth's Third Marriage. — Maria's School-Life. — 
Visits Mr. Day in Vacation. — His Influence over her Mind. 

— Maria accompanies the Family to Ireland.— Edge worths- 
town. — Manner of Living at that Time in Ireland. — Maria's 
Occupations. — Translates "Adele et The'odore." — Writes 
much, without intending Publication. — Their Social Life. — 
Death of Mr. Day. — His Writings. — Death of Honora 
Edgeworth.— Mrs. Ruxton. —Her Character . . . .09 


Maria's Method of Work. — She joins her Father and Mother in 
England. — Life at Clifton. — Dr. Darwin. — Mr. Edgeworth 
meets Old Friends. — Maria visits Friends. — Dr. Beddoes. — 
Return to Ireland. — Disturbances in Ireland. — The " Free- 
man Family." — "Letters for Literary Ladies." — "Practi- 
cal Education." — Continued Disturbances. — " Parent's As- 
sistant."— At Work on "Practical Education." — "Moral 
Tales."— Death of Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth. — Friendship 
formed with the Beaufort Family. — Mr. Edgeworth marries 
Miss Beaufort 90 


Internal Dissensions. — French Invasion. — The Edgeworths' 
Alarm. — Their Flight. — They return to Edgeworthstown. — 
Defeat of the French. —Quiet restored. — " Practical Edu- 
cation" published. —The Plan of this Work . . . .111 

Maria visits England. — Writes "Forgive and Forget," and 
"To-morrow." — Mr. Edgeworth and Maria meet Old 
Friends. — Mrs. Barbauld. — Society at Clifton. — Visit to 
London. — Johnson. — Return to Ireland. — "Castle Rack- 
rent." — Maria prints more "Moral Tales." — " Belinda." — 
" Essay on Bulls." — Professor Pictet's Visit to Edge- 
worthstown. — A Journey to Paris proposed. — Dr. Darwin's 
Death I'iS 


The Edgeworths' Departure for England. — Places of Interest 
visited. — Maria visits Miss Watts. — France. — The Low 


Countries. — Arrival at Paris. — Mr. Watt. — The Edge- 
worths make many Pleasant Acquaintances and Friends. 

— French Scientific Men.— Dumont. — Lord Henry Petty. 

— The Delesserts. — Mme. de Pastoret. — French Society. — 
Mine. d'Ouilitot. — Literary Men. — Noted Women. —Maria's 
Works translated into French, German, and Spanish. — Po- 
lice Surveillance. — Maria meets M. Edelcrautz. — An Offer 

of Marriage. — Her Decision 155 

Maria visits La Harpe. — Mi. Edgeworth ordered to leave Paris. 

— Maria goes with him to Passy. — He receives Permi.ssion 
to return. — A Visit to Mme. de Gcnlis. — Pv,umors of War. — 
Departure from Paris. — London. — York. — Edinburgh. — 
Society there. — Dugald Steward. — Dr. Alison. — Dr. Greg- 
ory.- Professor Playfair. — Elizabeth Hamilton. —Maria's 
Enjoyment of Edinburgh.- A Visit to Glasgow on their 
Way to Ireland I79 


"Popular Tales." — " Emilie de Coulanges." — "Ennui." — 
"Leonora." — " Griselda." — Maria visits Black Ca.stle. — 
Reading for " Professional Education." — Maria has a Severe 
Illness. — Reads " The Lay of the Last Minstrel." — Visits 
at Pakenham Hall and Castle Forbes. — " Leonora." — Vi.sits 
to Friends in 1806. —Lady Morgan. — "Kitty Pakenham." 

— Visits from Friends. — Death of Charlotte Edgeworth. 

— Coolure. — Library and Garden at Edgeworthstown.— 
Disturbances among the Lower Classes.— A Natural Curi- 
osity. —Work on "Professional Education."— Publication 

of this Book 203 


" Corinne." — Sir Walter Scott. — Maria's Assistance of her 
Father in writing. — " Ennui." — Maria begins " Vivian." — 
Social Life. — "Cottagers of Glenburnie." — Maria makes 
Visits. —A Visit from Primate Stuart. —" Tales of Fasliiou- 
able Life" published in 1809. — Notices of this Book. — 
Maria plans for Future Work.— Summer Visitors. — Mr. 
Johnson's Death. —Mrs. Inchbald.— Mrs. Barbauld's Edi- 
tion of "British Novelists." — " Belinda " placed in it.—/ 
Maria writes Mrs. Inchbald. — Sir James Mackintosh's Opin- 
ion of ]Maria's Works. —Maria's Criticism on Books of the 
Day. — Mrs. Leadbeater. — Maria edits her Book. — Irish 
Theatricals 227 



A Visit to Diiblin. — Cliurch-Spire Building. — " Patronage." — 
" The Absentee." — Raising of tlie Spire constructed by Mr. 
Edgeworth. — Maria mal5:es Visits in Ireland. — 1813, the 
Edgeworths make a Visit to London. — Enthusiastic Rece]> 
tion of Maria. — She makes many New Friends. — Misses 
Mme. de Stael. — The Party travel through England before 
they return to Ireland. — Sir James Mackintosh . . . 255 


Return to Ireland. — Maria begins the New Series of " Early 
Lessons." — A Visit from Miss Elizabeth Hamilton and 
other Friends. — " Patronage " published. — Lord Dudley. — 
Mrs. Inchbald. — " "Waverley." — INIaria writes Scott. — A 
Visit to Dublin. — Ill Health of Mr. Edgeworth. — A Visit 
from Mr. Ward. — Anecdotes. —Maria at Work on " Har- 
rington " and " Ormond " 282 


Letter to Mrs. Inchbald, with "Comic Dramas." — Continued 
Illness of Mr. Edgeworth. — His Death. — Maria's Distress. 

— No Work done for many Months. — Maria rouses herself 
to work on her Father's " Memoir." — A Visit to Bowood. — 
Lord and Lady Lansdowne. — Dumont. — Moore's Diary. — 
Other Visits. — The Grove. — Hampstead. — The Misses 
Baillie. — Again at Bowood. — Byrkeley Lodge. — Trentham. 

— Smethwick. — Lady Elizabeth Whitbread's House. — Ken- 
sington Gore. — London Friends. — Duchess of Wellington. 

— Deep Dene. — Home. — "Memoir" 309 


A Visit from the Carrs. — Maria reads New Books. —Memoir 
completed. — A Continental Journey. -England. -Oxford. 

— Paris. — Old Friends revisited. — Mme. Re'camier. — Mme. 
de Pastoret. — Cuvier. — Prony. — Other Celebrities. — French 
Society. — Many Changes. — Politics.— Mme. de Rumford. — 
Geneva. — Dumont. — The Moillets. — A Visit at Pregny. — 
Coppet. — Chamouni. — A Town on the Borders of Lake 
Geneva. —Visit to Montolieu. — Again at Coppet. 

— M. de Stael. — Memories of ^Nlme. de Stael. —Maria writes 
"Rosamond" at Pregny. — M. Pictct de Rocheinont. — Re- 
views of the "Memoir."— Painful Experience for Maria. — 
Paris. — Much Visiting. — A Call upon Mme. de Roche- 
jaquelin 333 



Return to England. — Bowood. — Ireland. — Tmprovemcnts in 
Edgeworthstown. — England in 18'21. —Visits to Snietliwiek 
Qrove. — Wycombe Abbey. — Mr. Wilberforce. — Gatcond)0 
I'ark. — Anecdotes. — Easton Grey. — liowood. — Salisbury 
Cathedral. — Deepdene. — Sequel to " Frank."— Hamiistead. 

— "The Pirate" read. — Misses Baillie. — Mrs. Soinerville. 

— Many Literary Tcople. — Anecdotes. — Mrs. Fry's Reading 
at Newgate. — Almack's. — Sir Walter Scott invites Maria to 
Abbotsford. — She accepted for a Few Months Later.— 
LondonSociety.— Mrs, Siddons's Acting.— Ireland.— "Harry 
and Lucy." — A visit to Scotland. — The Stuarts. — Edin- 
burgh, —Mrs. Fletcher's Description of Maria. —Scott , , 3G'2 


Account of the Meeting between ISIaria and Sir Walter Scntt.— 
An Evening with liiiu. — Edinburgh seen with Sir Walter. 

— The Lakes and the Highlands. - Abbotsford. — Happy 
Visit. — Return to Ireland. — Home Affairs. —Visitors. — 
The Mental Thermometer. — " Take for Granted." —Mr. 
Constable. —The Visit of Sir Walter Scott to Ireland. — His 
Stay at Edgeworthstown. — Their Trip to Killarney 



Maria and Sir Walter Scott travel to the Lakes.— Delightful 
Days. — Return to Dublin. — Parting of the Novelists. — 
Irish Commercial Difficulties.— Maria meets the Crisis in 
Money Affairs successfully. — Sir Humphry Davy. — Capt. 
Hall. —Maria forms Habit of Morning Exercise. — " Take 
for Granted " announced withotit Permission. — Miss Anna 
Edgeworth's Bequest. —Maria's Disposition of it. — Fire.— 
Capt. Hall's Journals. — Scott's Introduction to the Waver- 
ley Novels. — Many Deaths among Maria's Friends. — ]SIaria 
at AVork on "Helen." — Distress and Famine in Ireland. — 
Visit to England.- Sees many Friends. — Lansdowne,— 
Duchess of Wellington. — Baillies. — Carrs, — Mrs, Wilson. 
— Mackintoshes. — Herschels. — Ireland. — Enjoyment of 
London.— Notes for "Helen. " — Death of Scott . . .419 


" Helen." — INIaria still at Work on this Book. — Encouragement 
from Friends. — "Helen " finished. —Received with Great 
Interest by the Public. — Remarks on "Helen." — Sir Cul- 
ling Smith. — Maria's Visit to Connemara.— Letter from Col. 


Stewart.— Answers Mrs. Stark. — "Dublin University Maga- 


Visit of the Ticknors to Edgeworthstown. — Remarks of Maria. 
—Letter to W. B. O. Peabody.— Mrs. Farrar's Visit to Maria. 
— Condition of Ireland at this time. — Mr. Sprague's Sketch 
of his Day with Maria. — Leigh Hunt's "Blue-Stocking 
Revels." — Sou they.— A Visit to England.— Mrs. Sigourney's 
Meeting with Miss Edgeworth. — Maria made Honorary 
Member of the Royal Irish Society. — Hall's Account of 
Edgeworthstown and the Family. — A Visit to Maria. — Im- 
pressions of Maria's Home Life 405 


Severe Illness of Miss Edgeworth. — A Visit to Trim. — Frede- 
rika Bremer. — Lady Lansdowne's Character. — Last Visit 
to England. — Sydney Smith.— Observations of his on Maria's 
Conversation. — Pleasant Stay in Loudon. — Trim. — Illness 
there.— Lady Georgiana Fullerton. — Armagh. — Lever's 
Tribute to Miss Edgeworth. — Maria's Interest in the Poor 
on the Estate.— Writes " Orlandino." — Remarks on Tem- 
perance. — Simpkins & Marshall ask for Prefaces to Maria's 
CollectedWorks. — Her Reply. — Mr. Prescott . . .501 


Miss Edgeworth's Continued Interest in Literature. — Lady 
Cecilia Clarendon. — Mrs. Wilson's Death. — Note in Macau- 
lay's History on Maria. — Maria's Letter about a Severe 
Illness. —Lines to Ireland. — Maria's Gift to the Irish 
Porters. — Maria's Sudden Illness. — Death. — Her AYishes. 
—Her Habits. — Her Disposition. — Her Mental Training. 
— Intellect. — Notes. — Methods of Work. — Summary. — 
Character and Influence 518 

The Mental Thermometer 541 






Introiluction. — Settlement of the Edgewortbs in Ireland. — Sketches 
and Anecdotes of the Family. — Marriage of Richard Edgeworth. 

— Birth of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. — Early Years. — Schools. 

— Visits England. — Warwick. — Bath. — Returns to Ireland.— 
Anecdotes. — Mock ISIarriage. — Years of Idleness. -Dublin Uni- 
versity. — Enters Oxford. — Acquaintance with the Elers Family. 

— A Tragic Story. 

Many causes have combined to prevent any one 
from writing the life of Maria Edgeworth; and 
what was not done early has become more and more 
difficult as years passed on. Hers was not an ordi- 
nary literary career, made up of the grinding poverty 
and soaring aspirations and almost insurmountable 
obstacles which so often, unfortunately, beset the 
path of genius. She was well born and bred, care- 
fully educated, and socially surrounded by Great 
Britain's and Europe's best and finest minds. Her 
circle of intimate acquaintances, friends, and rela- 
tions, takes in the very first names in politics, litera- 
ture, science, and art. While her extensive view of 
life and society gave her breadth and ease, it in no 
wise detracted from her originality, her genius, or 
her industry. 


Maria Edgeworth was Irish only in her sympatliies, 
not her birth : for on her mother's side she was de- 
scended from an Enghsh family of long standing; 
and the Edgeworths, though long settled in Ireland 
and intermarried there, were of English origin. 

It is quite impossible to write an adequate sketch 
of Maria Edgeworth's life, without introducing at 
every turn her father as a prominent factor in her 
literary work. He was her " guide, philosopher, and 
friend ; " and, in order to complete the j)icture of 
her life, we must introduce some j)reliminary account 
of the Edgeworths, and give a description of the 
character and early life of Kichard Lovell Edgeworth. 
Their lives were so long parallel, as she was born 
before he was twenty-two years old, that of neces- 
sity an account of one must constantly mention the 
other. Mr. Edgeworth, in writing his own memoir, 
which was finished after his death by Maria, says : — 

"My family came into Ireland iu the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth, about the year 1583 : they had been established, 
as I have been told, at Edgeworth, now called Edgeware, 
in Middlesex. 

" Edward Edgeworth, who was the bishop of Down 
and Connor in Ireland, iu the year 1593, dying without 
issue, left his fortune to his brother Francis, who was 
the clerk of the Hanai>er, in 1G19. This gentleman, from 
whom I am lineally descended, married an Irish lady, Jane 
Tuite, a daughter of Sir Edmond Tuite, Knight of Sonna, 
in the county of Westmeath. She was very beautiful, 
and of an ancient family. It happened, that, being once 
obliged to give place at church to some lady whom she 
thought her inferior, she pressed her husband to take out 


a baronet's patent which had been prepared for him. At 
this time patents were, as he expressed it, ' more oner- 
ous than honorable ; ' and he refused to comply with his 
wife's request. The lady, waxing wroth, declared that 
she would never go again to church. The gentleman un- 
gallantly replied, that she might stay or go wherever she 
pleased. In consequence of this permission, which she 
took in the largest sense, she attached herself to Queen 
Henrietta Maria, with whom she continued in France 
dm-ing the remainder of the queen's life. 

"Upon her husband's refusing the baronet's patent, 
she obtained it for her brother, Sir Edmond Tuite. She 
returned to Ireland afterwards, at Queen Henrietta Maria's 
death ; but she disregarded her husband's family and her 
own, and laid out a very large fortune iu founding a 
religious house iu Dublin. 

"•Her son, Capt. John Edgeworth, married the daughter 
of Sir Hugh Cullum, of Derbyshire. He brought her to 
Ireland, to his castle of Cranallagh, in the county of 
Longford. He had by her one son. Before the Irish 
rebellion broke out, iu 1641, Capt. Edgeworth, not aware 
of the immediate danger, left his wife and infant in the 
castle of Cranallagh, while he was summoned to a dis- 
tance by some military duty. During his absence, the 
rebels rose, attacked the castle, set fire to it at night, and 
dragged the lady out, literally naked. She escaped from 
their hands, and hid herself iu a furze-bush till they had 
dispersed. By what means she saved herself from the 
fury of the rebels, I never heard. She made her way to 
Dublin, thence to England, and to her father's house in 
Derbyshire. After the rebels had forced the lady out of 
the castle, and had set fire to it, they plundered it com- 
pletely ; but they were persuaded to extinguish the fire 
from reverence for the picture of Jane Edgeworth. Her 


portrait was painted on the wainscot, with a cross hang- 
ing from her neck, and a rosary in her hands. 

' ' Being a Catholic, and having founded a religious 
house, she was considered as a saint. The only son of 
Capt. Edgeworth was then an infant lying in his cradle. 
One of the rebels seized the child by the leg, and was 
in the act of swinging him round to dash his brains out 
against the corner of the castle-wall, when an Irish ser- 
vant of the lowest order stopped his hand, claiming the 
right of killing the little heretic himself, and swearing 
that a sudden death would be too good for him ; that he 
would pltinge him up to the throat in a boghole, and leave 
him for the crows to pick his eyes out. Snatching the 
child from his comrade, he ran off with it to a neighbor- 
ing bog, and thrust it into the mud ; but, when the rebels 
had retired, this man, who had only pretended to join 
them, went back to the bog for the boy, preserved his 
life, and, contriving to hide him in a pannier under eggs 
and chickens, carried him actually through the midst of 
the rebel camp, safely to Dublin. 

" This faithful servant's name was Bryan Ferral. His 
last descendant died within my memory, after having 
lived, and been supported always, under my father's 
protection. My father heard this story from Lady Edge- 
worth, his grandmother, and also from a man of a hun- 
dred and seven years of age, one Bryan Simpson, who 
was present when the attack was made on Cranallagh 
Castle, and by whom the facts were circumstantially 

"Mrs. Edgeworth, the daughter of Sir Hugh Cullum, 
lived but a few years after her return to her father's house 
in Derbyshire. Her husband, Capt. John Edgeworth, had 
followed her to England. Some time after he was left 
a widower, he determined to return to reside in Ireland. 


On hif=; waj' thither, he stopped a day at Chester, it being 
Christmas Day. He went to tlie catliedral ; and there he 
was struck with the sight of a lady who had a full-blown 
rose in her bosom. This lady was Mrs. Bridgman, a 
widow of INIr. Edward Bridgman, brother to Sir Orlando 
Bridgman, the Lord Keeper. As she was coming out 
of church, the rose fell at Capt. Edgeworth's feet. The 
lady was handsome, so was the captain : he took up the 
rose, and presented it with so much grace to Mrs, Bridg- 
man, that, in consequence, they became acquainted, and 
were soon married. They came over to Ireland. Capt. 
Edgeworth had a son, as I have mentioned, by his former 
wife ; and the widow Bridgman had a daughter by her 
former husband. The daughter was heiress to her father's 
property. These young people fell in love with each 
other. The mother was averse to the match. To avoid 
the law against running away with an heiress, the lovers 
settled that the young lady should take her lover to church 
behind her on horseback. Their marriage was effected. 
Their first son, Francis, was born before the joint ages 
of his father and mother amounted to thirty-one years. 

"After the death of Captain Edgeworth and his wife, 
which happened before this young couple had arrived at 
years of discretion, John Edgeworth took possession of 
a considerable estate in Ii'eland, and of an estate in J^ng- 
land, in Lancashire, which came to him in right of his 
wife ; he had also ten thousand pounds in money, as her 
fortune. But they were extravagant, and quite ignorant 
of the management of money. Upon an excursion to 
England, they moi'tgaged their estate in Lancashire, and 
carried the money to London in a stocking, which they 
kept on the top of their bed. To this stocking, both 
wife and husband had free access ; and, of course, its 
contents soon began to be very low. The young man 


was handsome, and very fond of dress. At one time, 
when he had run out all his cash, he actually sold the 
ground plat of a house in Dublin, to purchase a high- 
crowned hat and feathers, which was then the mode. He 
lived in high company in London and at court. Upon 
some occasion King Charles II. insisted on knighting 
him. His lady was presented at court, where she was 
so much taken notice of by the gallant monarch, that 
she thought it proper to intimate to her husband that 
she did not wish to go there a second time ; nor did she 
ever after appear at court, though in the bloom of youth 
and beauty. She returned to Ireland. This was an 
instance of prudence, as well as strength of mind, which 
could hardly have been expected from the improvident 
temper she had shown at first setting out in life. In this 
lady's character there was an extraordinary mixture of 
strength and weakness. She was courageous beyond the 
habits of her sex in real danger, and yet afraid of imagi- 
nary beings. According to the superstition of the times, 
she believed in faii'ies. Opposite to her husband's castle 
of Lissard, in Ireland, and within view of the windows, 
there is a mount, which was reputed to be the resort of 
fairies ; and, when Lady Edgeworth resided alone at Lis- 
sard, the common people of the neighborhood, either for 
amusement, or with the intention of frightening her away, 
sent children by night to this mount, who, by their strange 
noises, by singing, and the lights the}^ showed from time 
to time, terrified her exceedingly. But she did not quit 
tlie place. The mount was called Fairy-mount, since 
abbreviated to Firmount. ' ' ^ 

1 Firniouiit: from which, in after times, the Abbe' Edgeworth 
(celebrated as attending Louis XVI. on the scaffold, to whose branch 
of the family this part of the estate descended) called himself M. 
de Firmout. The abbe was Lady Edgeworth's grandson. Her 
fifth son, Essex Edgeworth, was the abbe's father. 


Of the courage and presence of mind of this I^ady 
Edgeworth, who was so much afraid of fairies, Mr. 
Edgeworth gives an instance. 

" While she was Hving at Lissard, she was, on some 
sudden alarm, obliged to go at night to a garret at the 
top of the house for some gunpowder, which was kept 
there in a barrel. She was followed up-stairs by an igno- 
rant servant-girl, who carried a bit of caudle without a 
candle-stick between her fingers. When Lady Edgeworth 
had taken what guupowder she wanted, had locked 
the door, and was half-way down-stairs again, she ob- 
served that the girl had not her candle, and asked her 
what she had done with it : the girl recollected, and an- 
swered, that she had left it ' stuck in the barrel of black 
salt.' Lady Edgeworth bid her stand still, and instantly 
returned by herself to the room where the gunpowder was, 
found the caudle as the girl had described, put her hand 
carefully underneath it, carried it safely out, and, when 
she got to the bottom of the stairs, dropped on her knees, 
aud thanked God for their deliverance. This lady, with 
all her courage aud virtue, had a violent temper, which 
brought on family quarrels between her and her husband 
and her many sons : so that the very early marriage which 
I have mentioned turned out unhappily. She recurred 
continually to the large fortune which she had brought her 
husband, and complained of being treated with neglect. 
Her husband had learned prudence, however, and man- 
aged to push his fortunes as a courtier and soldier, and 
to leave to his eight sons a handsome property. Lady 
Edgeworth lived till she was ninety." 

Francis Edgeworth, her eldest son, was the grand- 
father of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. 


" He was a loyal man, a zealous Protestant ; so much 
so, that he was called Protestant Frank. In his youth 
he raised a regiment for King William, which, when he 
had completed, he gave up to his father, Sir John, who 
required it from him. A memorandum of an intended 
grant from the crown, of three thousand pounds, on 
account of the expense of raising this regiment, and as 
an acknowledgment for the service, still remains (unpaid) 
among our family papers. My grandfather became colo- 
nel of the regiment after his father's death. He was a 
man of great wit and gayety, fond of his profession, quite 
a soldier, and totally regardless of money. He married 
successively several wives, one of whom, an English lady, 
was a widow Bradstone. Her daughter. Miss Brad- 
stone, my father's half-sister, married Thomas Pakenham, 
father to the first, and grandfather to the present. Lord 
Longford. Thus he became connected with the Paken- 
ham family. Col. Francis Edgeworth, besides being 
straitened in his circumstances, by having, for many 
years, a large jointure to pay to his mother, was involved 
in diflSculties by his own taste for play, — a taste which, 
from indulgence, became an irresistible passion. One 
night, after having lost all the money he could command, 
he staked his wife's diamond earrings, and went into an 
adjoining room where she was sitting in company, to ask 
her to lend them to him. She took them from her ears, 
and gave them to him, sajing, that she knew for what 
purpose he wanted them, and that he was welcome to 
them. They were played for. My grandfather won upon 
this last stake, and gained back all he had lost that night. 
In the warmth of his gratitude to his wife, he, at her 
desire, took an oath that he would never more play at 
any game with cards or dice. Some time afterwards he 
was found in a hay-j^ard with a friend, drawing straws 


out of the hay-rick, and betting upon which should be the 
longest. As might be expected, he lived in allernate 
extravagance and distress ; sometimes with a coach and 
four, and in very want of half a crown." 

Col. Francis Edgewortli left his affairs in such 
disorder at his death, " that his son, the father of 
Richard Lovell Edgeworth, then a child of eight 
years old," would have lost his whole property, had 
not JNIr. Pakenhara, his guardian, taken care of hira 
and of it. Mr. Pakenham, finding his half-nephew 
to be an " uncommonly steady disposition, advised 
him to go to the Temple, at eighteen, instead of 
going to college. This prudent counsel he followed, 
and there applied himself closely to the study of the 
law; and by perseverance in his profession, and mak- 
mg himself" master of his own affairs, he recovered 
a considerable part of his estate, which had been 
unjustly detained from him by some of his own 
family. His son relates "a singular detection of 
fraud in one of the suits in which he was engaged. 
A deed was produced against him, which was wit- 
nessed by a very old man, who was brought into 
court. His venerable aspect prepossessed the court 
strongly in favor of his veracity. He said that he 
was an ancient servant of the Edgeworth family, 
and had been accustomed to transcribe papers for the 
gentleman who had executed the deed. He began by 
declaring, that he had foreseen from the particular 
circumstances of the deed, which went to disinherit 
the heir of the family, that the transaction might 
hereafter be brought into dispute : he had therefore, 
he said, privately put a sixpence under the seal of 


the deed, which would appear if the seal were bro- 
ken. The seal was broken in open court, and the 
sixj^ence was found to be dated five years subsequent 
to the date of the deed : the deed being thus proved 
to be a forgery, my father gained his suit." 

The readers of " Patronage " must remember how 
much the point of that story depends upon this 
very anecdote, which Maria has introduced as the 
evidence on which the fortunes of Mr. Percy turned 
in the nefarious attempt of Sir Robert Percy to 
deprive him of the mesne rents, after he had dispos- 
sessed him of his estates by an earlier suit. The 
finding of the coin there restores him his entire 
estate, and the whole passage is one of those genu- 
ine bits of real life which she depicts with so much 
truth and vividness. 

Mr. Edgeworth, after this incident, and gaining 
other suits, became rich in a few years; and, " in 1732, 
he married Jane Lovell, daughter of Samuel Lovell, 
a Welsh judge, who was son of Sir Salathiel Lovell, 
that recorder of London who, at the trial of the 
seven bishops, in the reign of James II., proved him- 
self to be a good man, though he was but an indif- 
ferent lawj-er. He lived to the age of ninety-four, 
and had so much lost his memory as to be called the 
Ohliviscor of London. Of him I have heard my 
father relate an anecdote," saj'S Richard Lovell 
Edgeworth, "which has been told of others. A 
young lawyer pleading before him was so rude as to 
say, ' Sir, you have forgotten the law.' He replied, 
'Young man, I liave forgotten more law than you 
will ever remember.' " 


In Galton's "Hereditary Genius" he mentions 
the Edgeworths, and classes them as an example of 
his theory. He also names Sir Salathiel Lovell as 
an ancestor. In naming Mr. Edgeworth, the father 
of ^laria, he says, he exhibits " a singular union of 
sober sense and inexhaustible invention." 

Samuel Lovell, the Welsh judge, as he was pass- 
ing the sands near Beaumoris, "going the circuit," 
was overtaken by the night and the tide : his coach 
was set fast in a quicksand; the water soon rose 
into the coach; and his register and some other 
attendants crept out of the windows, and mounted 
on the roof and on the coach-box. The judge let 
the water rise to his very lips, and with becoming 
gravity replied to all the entreaties of his attend- 
ants, " I will follow your counsel, if you can quote 
any precedent for a judge's mounting a coach-box." 

After Mr. Edgeworth's marriage with Miss Lovell, 
he abandoned the profession of the law, and resided 
on his estate in Ireland, with occasional visits to 
England. He had eight children, four of whom 
died in their early infancy. Richard Lovell Edge- 
worth was born in Bath, in the year 1744. When 
he was six years of age, he became, by the death of 
his elder brother Thomas, his father's heir. He tells 
us that as the result of this event, — 

"The views of my education changed, and my life was 
now to be preserved with an increased degree of care and 
precaution. ... I was naturally strong and active ; but 
I was now obhged to take a course of physic twice a 
year, every spring and autumn, with a nine days' potions 
of small-beer and rhuljarb, to fortify my stomach, and 


to kill imaginary worms. I was not suffered to feel the 
slightest inclemency of the weather ; I was muffled up 
whenever I was permitted to ride a mile or two on horse- 
back before the coachman ; my feet never brushed the 
dew, nor was my head ever exposed to the wind or sun. 
Fortunately my mother's knowledge of the human mind 
far exceeded her skill in medicine." 

This lady, having become a cripple by accident, 
after the birth of her son Richard, devoted herself 
to literature for her diversion and relief from ennui ; 
and to her, probably, he owed the taste for science 
and literature which he afterwards displayed, and 
with which he so strongly imbued the opening mind 
of his daughter Maria. 

Richard Edgeworth was first sent to school to the 
clergyman of a neighboring village, the Rev. Patrick 
Hughes, the early instructor of Goldsmith. After 
a few months of preparatory study there, combined 
with a good deal of whipping, he was ready for a 
higher school, and placed at Dr. Lycliat's at War- 
wick, in England. He was then about eight years 
old. He says of this school and the harsh treat- 
ment he received there from the older boys, — 

"I had been accustomed to the affection of all my 
family at home, and was totally unacquainted with that 
love of power and of tyranny which seems almost innate 
in certain minds. A full-grown boy, just ready for col- 
lege, made it his favorite amusement to harass the minds, 
and torment the bodies, of his younger school-fellows. A 
little boy with remarkably long flaxen hair, and myself, 
were the chosen objects of his cruelty. He used to knot 
our hah- together, and drag us up and dowu the school- 


room stairs, for bis diversion. One evening, when Dr. 
Lyiliat and all the boys except ray tormentor and myself, 
bad gone to church, be caught rue, and, confining me 
with iron grasp between bis knees, be pulled a small black 
box from his pocket, which, with a terrific voice and coun- 
tenance, he informed me was filled with dead men's fat, 
with the fat of a man who had lately been hanged : this 
he invited me to eat ; and, upon my refusing to do so with 
manifest signs of horror and disgust, be crammed my 
mouth till I was nearly suffocated. The box contained, 
it is true, nothing but spermaceti ; but to me it was dread- 
ful as poison." 

Travellino' in England in 1752 was at all seasons 
difficult, but in winter a great exposure. And as 
tlie Edgeworth family were living at Bath, the boy- 
was to spend his Christmas holidays at school. Mrs. 
Dewes, the sister of Mrs. Delany, so well known to 
all who have ever read the life of that charming 
woman, was herself all benevolence and sympathy; 
and, on a visit to her own sons at the school, saw 
little Richard, and invited him to Welsbourne, her 
home, which was about four miles from Warwick. 
There he went, and passed a very delightful Christ- 
mas. His mother had known Mrs. Delany ; and he 
found himself received by the master and mistress 
of Welsbourne as one of the family, and saw old 
English hospitality. His description of it all shows 
what country life in England was at that time. 

" The tenants of Mr. Dewes were invited to a Christ- 
mas dmner of excellent cheer, and their wives and 
daughters passed the evening in mirth and unreproved 
pleasure. The fiddle and a good supper sent ail the 


young people bappy to their homes, find Mrs. Dewes's 
cheerful and instructive conversation spread universal 
satisfaction among the elder part of the company." 

The four Dewes boys and young Edgeworth passed 
their time very pleasantly in the usual sports of the 
season, and read in the evening from the little books 
then printed by Newberry in St. Paul's Churchyard, 
or deciphered anagrams which Mrs. Dewes and some 
young lady visitors gave them. 

Mrs. Delany, writing Mrs. Dewes from Bulstrode, 
the home of the Duchess of Portland, Dec. 2, 1753, 
says, among other things, — 

"I am delighted with your journal, and that Master 
Edgeworth is so well-behaved a child : it would have 
been indeed grievous to have had your great good-nature 
and humanity hurt and ungratefully returned, as it would 
have been had he proved a bad boy." 

After an attack of whooping-cough, which pre- 
vented his study, he was removed from the school 
at Warwick. On his way with his father to Bath, he 

says, — 

" Our journey lay in some places out of the high road, 
and across corn-fields. Our vehicle was a two-wheeled 
carriage, something like a French chaise de ]}oste; and, 
as we travelled slowly, I had time for observation. I 
recollect, however, only one thing that caught my atten- 
tion : when we came on the high road to Cirencester, I 
saw a man carrying a machine five or six feet in diameter, 
of an oval form, and composed of slender ribs of steel. 
I begged my father to inquhe what it was. We were 


told that it was the skolcton of a \n(\y's hoop. It ^ras 
furnished with hinges, wliich permitted it to fold together 
in a small compass, so that more than two persons might 
sit on one seat of a coaeh ; a feat not easily performed 
when ladies were encompassed with whaleboue hoops of 
six feet extent. ' ' 

On his parents' return to Ireland, he was placed at 
Drogheda school ; of which Dr. Norris was master, 
and it was then considered the best in Ireland. 
While there he profited by the excellent instrnc- 
tion, and made some lifelong friends. Among 
them were the two sons of Chief Baron Foster: 
John, the eldest, became afterwards the celebrated 
speaker of the Irish House of Commons ; and Wil- 
liam, who was successively Bishop of Kilmore and 
Bishop of Clogher. While at this school. Edge- 
worth became celebrated for feats of strength ; and, 
during his vacations, he was invited by Baron 
Foster to visit his sons at Collon, where he hunted 
"desperately" with the Fosters. Thinking he had 
some cause of grievance, Richard persuaded his 
father to remove him when he was about four- 
teen years old to a school at Longford, kept by a 
man named Hynes ; and so well did he profit by his 
studies, that in two years more he was prepared to 
enter the University of Dublin. 

About this time (1754) his mother, who had long 
been an invalid, consulted Lord Trimblestone, " a 
Roman-Catholic nobleman who had resided many 
years abroad, and become famous for his skill in 
medicine and benevolent attentions to persons of all 
ranks who applied to him." Mr. Edgeworth relates 


the following anecdote of one of this nobleman's 
remarkable cures. 

"A very delicate lady of fashion, who had, till her 
beauty began to decay, been flattered egregiously by one 
sex, and vehemently envied by the other, began to feel, 
as years approached, that she was shrinking into nobody. 
Disappointment produces ennui, and ennui disease : a train 
of nervous symptoms succeeded each other with alarm- 
ing rapidity ; and after the advice and the consultations 
of all the physicians in Ireland, and the correspondence of 
the most eminent in England, this poor lady had recourse 
in the last resort to Lord Trimblestone. He declined 
interfering, he hesitated: but at last, after much inter- 
cession, he consented to hear the lady's complaints, and 
to endeavor to effect her cure : this concession was made 
upon a positive stipulation that the patient should remain 
three weeks in his house, without any attendants but those 
of his own family, and that her friends should give her 
up entirely to his management. The case was desperate, 
and any terms must be submitted to where there was a 
prospect of relief. The lady went to Trimblestone, 
was received with the greatest attention and politeness. 
Instead of a grave and forbidding physician, her host, 
she found, was a man of most agreeable manners. Lady 
Trimblestone did every thing in her power to entertain 
her guest, and for two or three days the demon of ennui 
was banished. At length the lady's vapors returned: 
every thing appeared changed. Melancholy brought on 
a return of alarming nervous complaints, — convulsions 
of the limbs, perversion of the understanding, a horror 
of society : in short, all the complaints that are to be 
met with in an advertisement enumerating the miseries 
of a nervous patient. In the midst of one of her most 


violent fits, four mutes, dressed in white, entered her 
apartment ; slowly approaching, they took her without 
violence in their arms, and without giving her time to 
recollect herself, conveyed her into a distant chamber 
hung with black, and lighted with green tapers. From 
the ceiling, which was of a considerable height, a swing 
was suspended, in which she was placed by the mutes, so 
as to be seated at some distance from the ground. One 
of the mutes set the swing in motion ; and, as it approached 
one end of the room, she was opposed by a grim mena- 
cing figure armed with a huge rod of birch. When she 
looked behind her, she saw a similar figure at the other 
end of the room, armed in the same manner. The ter- 
ror, notwithstanding the strange circumstances which sur- 
rounded her, was not of that sort which threatens life ; 
but every instant there was an immediate hazard of bodily 
pain. After some time the mutes appeared again, with 
great composure took the lady out of the swing, and con- 
ducted her to her apartment. When she had reposed 
some time, a servant came to inform her that tea was 
ready. Fear of what might be the consequences of a 
refusal prevented her from declining to appear. No 
notice was taken of what had happened, and the evening 
and the next day passed without any attack of her dis- 
order. On the third day the vapors returned, the mutes 
re-appeared, the menacing flagellants again affrighted 
her ; and again she enjoyed a remission of her com- 
plaints. By degrees the fits of her disorder became 
less frequent, the ministration of her tormentors less 
necessary ; and in time the habits of hypochondriacism 
were so often iuteiTupted, and such a new series of ideas 
was introduced into her mind, that she recovered perfect 
health, and preserved to the end of her life sincere grati- 
tude for her adventurous physician." 


Before young Edgewortli entered the university, 
his attention was turned from his studies for a time 
by the festivities attending his eldest sister's wedding. 
She married Francis Fox, Esq., of Fox Hall, in the 
county of Longford, a gentleman of good family and 
fortune, living near Edgeworthstown. All kinds of 
gayety followed this event, and Richard Edgeworth 
was among the wildest participants in these jovial 
scenes. It was at one of the dances given in honor 
of the wedding that the mock-marriage occurred, 
which sufficiently alarmed his father, and caused 
him to institute a suit of jactitatmi of marriage in 
the ecclesiastical court, to annul these imaginary 
nuptials. The whole affair was a joke, and hardly 
worth noticing, any more than other boyish freaks, 
such as dancing, hunting, and shooting so violently 
that for three nights successively Richard went from 
one amusement to another without being in bed; 
and it was after a raking pot of tea — that Hibernian 
potation taken to refresh the spirits of those who 
have sat up all night — that this wedding ceremony 
was gone through, with a key of a door for a ring, 
and a " few words of the ceremony gabbled over " 
by one of the company, with a white cloak round 
him for a surplice. When " The Quarterly Review," 
long years after, sent forth that cruel notice of the 
Memoirs which so hurt INIaria and the Edgeworth 
family, this incident was commented on in the most 
severe language by the reviewer. That gentleman 
actually counted this as a marriage, and added it to 
Mr. Edgeworth's four marriages as another. The 
young lady married shortly afterwards. 


A change for the better in the active boy's tastes 
was made by the good influence of Lady Longford, 
wife of the Lord Longford who was nephew of 
Richard's father. His cousin's wife was the worthy 
comj)anion of this nobleman, who was a man of "su- 
perior abilities and politeness." She was a woman 
gifted by nature with talents, wit, and humor, to 
which she added a taste for literature not common 
in the women of her day. She did not try to thwart 
her young cousin in his passion for field-sports, but 
gave him the key of the library ; and this hint soon 
had the desired effect, for he shot till he was tired 
of it, and then found the library a most attractive 
place. His taste for field-sports vanished, never to 
return. His active mind was early roused to an 
interest in science ; and the electrical machine of the 
traveller Mr. Deane — whose wife Mrs. Edgeworth 
interested herself in when her son was seven years 
old — made a lasting impression on his mind. This 
philosopher was detained at Edgeworthstown by his 
wife's illness ; and, grateful for the kindness of Rich- 
ard's mother to her, he showed him, while he was 
on a visit to Dublin, his workshop and all his scien- 
tific instruments. Among other things, he allowed 
him to see an orrery which he was making. This 
machine he afterwards bequeathed to the University 
of Dublin. 

One feels some doubt as to the wisdom with which 
Lord Longford allowed young Edgeworth to win a 
hundred guineas at faro, and then lose it all again, 
to try his disposition, and see if he were in danger 
of becoming a gambler. 


The usual career of a young man of property was 
at that day either idleness, which always has so 
many dangers, or a profession ; and this latter seems 
to have been Richard's lot. lie was entered at 
Duljlin University, 1761 ; and there he passed an 
extremely idle, misspent period of his life. He 
himself wishes " to pass over " his residence there. 
His father removed him in 1761 to Corpus Christi 
College, Oxford, as a gentleman commoner. He 
resolved to amend his life, and seems to have thor- 
oughly regretted the dissipations of Dublin. 

Another danger awaited him. Mr. Elers, an early 
friend of Mr. Edgeworth, was requested by him to 
take an interest in his son while at the university. 
Mr. Elers frankly told Mr. Edgeworth that he had 
" several daughters grown and growing up, who, as 
the world said, were prett}'- girls , but to whom he 
could not give fortunes that would make them suita- 
ble matches for Mr. Edgeworth's son." This hon- 
orable statement did not prevent, but rather hastened 
and determined, Mr. Edgeworth's resolution; and he 
took his son with him to Black Bourton, an ancient 
seat of tlie Hungerford family, whose heiress Mr. 
Elers had married. As Mr. Edgeworth did the very 
thing ]\lr. Elers feared (fell in love with and mar- 
ried one of his pretty daughters who had no fortune), 
some mention must here be made of the occupants 
of Black Bourton. 

Paul Elers was of German descent, and a lawyer 
by profession. He was requested by Mr. Grosvenor, 
a friend of his whom Mr. Hungerford had selected 
as his daughter's huisband, to visit Black Bourton, 

MR. ELERS. 21 

and examine the title-deeds of the estate, and take 
the necessary steps to secure it to liim. Mr. Grosve- 
nor was not fascinated by his intended bride, and 
Bkick Bourton did not seem to yield attractions to 
compensate. He grew melancholy, and told ]\Ir. 
Elers " The girl is a sad encumbrance to the estate." 
His friend felt differently, and spoke so admiringly of 
Miss Ilungerford, that Mr. Grosvenor replied, "A 
thouglit has just struck me: suppose you were to 
take the whole bargain off my hands." After some 
preliminaries, this strange change was actually ef- 
fected : Mr. Elers became the husband of the heiress, 
and Mr. Grosvenor "returned with light heart to 
London, delighted at his escape " from matrimony ; 
and his friend became the possessor of an estate of 
eight hundred a year, and the lady. His prospects 
as a rising lawyer were, however, spoiled by this 
marriage ; and ho was, at the time of Mr. Edge- 
worth's introduction to the home, father of a large 
family, and poor. 

"The family at Black Bourtou, at this time," says Mr. 
Edgeworth, "consisted of Mrs. Elers, her mother INIrs. 
Hungerford, and four grown-up young ladies, besides 
several children ; the eldest son, an officer, absent on 
duty. The young ladies, though far from being beauties, 
were handsome ; and, though destitute of accomplish- 
ments, they were, notwithstanding, agreeable, from an 
air of youth and simplicity, and from an unaffected good- 
nature and gayety. The person who struck me most at 
my introduction to this family group was Mrs. Hunger- 
ford. She was near eighty, tall and majestic, with eyes 
that still retained uncommon lustre. She was not able 


to rise from her chair without the assistance of one of 
her grand-daughters ; but when she had risen, and stood 
leaning on her tortoise-shell cane, she received my father, 
as the friend of the family, with so much politeness, and 
with so much grace, as to eclipse all the young people 
by whom she was surrounded. 

"Mrs. Hungerford was a Blake, connected with the 
Norfolk family. She had formerly been the wife of Sir 
Alexander Kennedy, whom Mr. Hungerford killed in a 
duel in Blenheim Park. Why she dropped her title in 
marrying Mr. Hungerford, I know not ; nor can I tell how 
he persuaded the beautiful widow to marry him, after he 
had killed her husband. Mr. Hungerford brought her into 
the retirement of Black Bourton,^ the ancient seat of 
this family, — an excellent but antiquated house, with case- 
ment windows, divided by stone frame-work, the princi- 
pal rooms wainscoted with oak, of which the antiquity 
might be guessed by the tarnish it had acquired from 
time. In the large hall were hung spears, and hunting- 
tackle, and armor, and trophies of war and of the chase, 
and a portrait — not of exquisite painting — of the gallant 
Sir Edward Hungerford. This portrait had been removed 
hither from Farley Castle, the principal seat of the 

"In the history of Mrs. Hungerford, there was some- 
thing mysterious, which was not, I perceived, known to 
the younger part of the family. I made no inquiries 
from Mr. Elers, but I observed that she was for a certain 

1 The proper name of Black Bourton is Bourton Abbots. "The 
old manorial pew belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Christ 
Chnrcai College formerly belonged to the Ellers, or Elers, family. 
At the back of it is the old family marble tomb and effigy. Bourton 
Abbots was a fine old mansion-house, a vestige of which is not now 
to be found, though relics of the old oak carvings are scattered 
among neighboring cottages." 


time in the day invisible. Slie liad an apartment to 
herself above stairs, containing three or four rooms ; when 
she was below stairs, we used to make a short way from 
one side of the house to the other, through her rooms, 
which occupied nearly one side of a quadrangle, of which 
the house consisted. One day, forgetting she was in her 
room, and her door by accident not having been locked, 
I suddenly entered. I saw her kneeling before a crucifix, 
which was placed upon her toilette, her beautiful eyes 
streaming with tears, and cast up to heaven with the 
most fervent devotion; her silver locks flowing down 
over her shoulders ; the remains of exquisite beauty, 
grace, and dignity in her whole figure. I had not, till I 
saw her at these, her private devotions, known that she 
was a Catholic ; nor had I, till I saw her tears of contri- 
tion, any reason to suppose that she thought herself a 
penitent. The scene struck me, young as I was, and 
more gay than young: her tears seemed to comfort, not 
to depress her ; and, for the first time since my childhood, 
I was convinced that the consolations of religion are fully 
equal to its terrors." 

The young man found himself unseen by the lady, 
and quietly withdrew with the lesson he learned 
from this scene. 

Richard received an unlimited invitation to the 
hospitable mansion at Black Bourton, and soon 
became as one of the family. He "laughed and 
talked, and sang with the ladies, and read Cicero 
and Longinus with their father, who, notwithstand- 
ing my youth," says the narrator, "and my pro- 
pensity to female society, filled many of my hours 
with agreeable conversation." His college life was 


passed very mncli the same as the other students 
spent theirs; and he distinguished himself neither 
by his levity nor studiousness, though he made good 
progress under his excellent tutor, Mr. Russell, 
whose son, some years later, was Master of the 
Charter House. 

BATH. 26 


Visits his Tarents at Bath. — Runaway ]\rarria<:;e. — Receives hi3 
Father's Forgiveness. —Visits Ireland with his Wife. —Death 
of his Mother. —Return to England. — Settles at Hare Hatch.— 
Occniiations.- His "Wife's Management. — Son born. — Enters 
the Temple, and studies for the Bar.— Maria born. — Mr. Edge- 
worth's Visit to Lichfield. — The Lichfield Coterie — Br. Dar- 
win.— Anna Seward. —The Misses Sneyd.— Thomas Day.— 
Other Friendships formed with Mr. Keir, Dr. Small, Mr. Watt, 
ZSIr. Wedgewood, and Mr. Bolton. — Day's Admiration for Miss 
Honora Sneyd. — Her Rejection. — Transfers his Affections to 
her Sister Elizabeth.— He adopts Two Girls. — Mr. Edgeworth 
inherits his Paternal Estates. — He becomes desperately iu Love 
with Miss Honora Sneyd. 

During tlie vacations be went to Bath, where his 
mother and father were living on account of the 
former's health. Bath, at this period, was the resort 
of England's most distinguished men and women ; 
and young Edgeworth became a man of fashion, and 
at the same time philosophized upon the people he 
met there. He sa3's be "was particularly struck 
with the appearance of the then Duke of Devon- 
shire. He had retired from the court in disgust; 
and the chagrin visible on his countenance made me 
early perceive that the smiles or frowns of princes 
have more power over the happiness of human 
beings than those who are at a distance from sover- 
eifrns can conceive." He saw Beau Nash, then at 
the zenith of his fame, the imperious ruler of fash- 


ion in Bath, at whose command no lady might appear 
as she chose, no man could be admitted to a public 
assembly without conforming to the dictates of this 
petty tyrant, who denounced aprons, and forbade 
boots in his evening assemblies, and in person ad- 
dressed those who wilfully or ignorantly disobeyed 
his rules. There, too, he saw " the celebrated Lord 
Chesterfield," and "looked in vain for that fire 
which we expect to find in the eye of a man of wit 
and genius. He was obviously unhappy, and a mel- 
ancholy spectacle." 

Mr. Edgeworth thought his son should marry 
early, and introduced him among the best families 
in Bath ; but already he had paid attention to one 
of the Miss Elers, and he says, " felt myself insensi- 
bly entangled so completely that I could not find 
any honorable means of extrication." He did not 
conceal his change of feeling when he returned to 
Black Bourton, but found the lady, who was not so 
changeable, held him to his promise, and so they 
visited Scotland, in 1703, where minors were married 
when they contracted an alliance without their par- 
ents' consent. At the time of this injudicious mar- 
riage with Miss Anna Maria Elers, Richard Lovell 
Edgeworth was but nineteen years old ; and his eld- 
est child, a son, was born before the father was 
twenty years of age. His father, Mr. Edgeworth 
senior, was much displeased at this marriage, and at 
first refused his approbation, but finally gave his 
consent to what he must have felt a thing he could 
not remedy, and had the young couple remarried 
by license with his consent. Richard Edgeworth 


took Lis young wife and infiiiit son to revisit Lis 
parents in Ireland ; but his motlier only survived his 
arrival at Edgeworthstown a few days, ending her 
life of suffering with the fortitude and calmness she 
had displayed throughout her long illness. Iler son 
bears ample testimony to her many admirable quali- 
ties and her love of literature ; which she kept in 
spite of early discouragements, and cherished by con- 
stant exercise in reading and study, so that, during 
her twenty years of helpless invalidism, she did not 
want for objects of interest and thought. 

"I believe I have mentioned, that, a few hours after 
my l)irtb, she, by some mismanagemeut, lost the use of 
one arm, and almost of her left side. ... In a word, her 
health was most deplorable. Yet, under all these afflic- 
tions, she was cheerful, and had the full use of her excel- 
lent understanding. Literature was not the fashion of 
the times when she was young. My grandmother, as I 
have been informed, was singularly averse to all learn- 
ing in a lady, beyond reading the Bible, and being able 
to cast up a week's household account. By what acci- 
dent my mother acquired an early and a decided taste for 
knowledge of all sorts, I never heard ; but her application 
and perseverance were probably stimulated by the pre- 
ventive measures that my grandmother took to hinder her 
from wasting time upon books. 

The year passed by Mr. Edgeworth at his father's 
estate in Ireland was extremely distasteful to him. 
He read " some lav/ and more science." 

He made himself an orrery with the few tools he 
had, and began that course of busying himself with 
such pursuits which engrossed all his thoughts till 


]iis cliiklren's education in some measure occupied 
his time, and Maria's literary tastes gave him another 
field for that active and restless spirit which was the 
ruling and motive power of his life. He was unfor- 
tunate in being an only son and the inheritor of a 
good estate ; for his temperament was one particularly 
suited to active life, and the largest scope allowed 
liim by the life of a country gentleman did not 
amount to that which a professional career would 
have afforded him. He endeavored to occupy himself 
well always, but only succeeded in busying himself 
with trifling inventions and some writing. These 
we shall notice later ; for the time we speak of he 
says, — 

' ' I never passed twelve months with less pleasure or 
profit. ... I felt the inconveniences of an early and 
hasty marriage ; and, though I heartily repented my folly, 
I determined to bear with firmness and temper the evil 
which I had brought on myself." 

In the autumn of 1765 the young couple returned 
to England, and on their journey stopped for a few 
days at Chester, where Mrs. Edge worth's aunts re- 
sided. There Mr. Edgeworth first heard of Dr. 
Darwin,^ whose acquaintance he was soon to make, 
through a congeniality in pursuits which led him to 
introduce himself to Dr. Darwin. This he did in 
order to show him a new coach he had invented, on 
hearing that Dr. Darwin had arranged one to turn 
in a small compass without the incumbrance of a 
crane-neck perch. 

1 Ei-asmus Darwin, an English physician, known to fame as poet 
and botanist. Born, 1731; died, 1802. 


Mr. Edgcwortli says, — 

"From Chester I went to Black Bonrton, wliore I 
fouutl the family iu great distress. Mr. Elers was, l)y the 
malice of an euemy, confined for del)t. Meantime Mrs. 
Elers was left to manage as well as she could at Black 
Bourton, and to take care of a numl)er of helpless chil- 
dren, some of whom were but seven or eight years old." 

They resided several niontlis with Mrs. Elers ; 
and INIr. Edgeworth endeavored to give his wife's 
younger brothers and sisters some instruction, and 
to cheer Mrs. Elers. He at last found it necessary 
to leave Black Bourton, and establish himself in a 
home of his own. He took a house at Hare Hatch, 
between Reading and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, 
where the young couple began to live by themselves. 
Mr. Edgeworth made his son an allowance ; and, as he 
had several terms to keep before he could be called 
to the bar, economy was necessary. Their modest 
establishment " was on a very moderate footing. I 
kept a phaeton with a pair of ponies, a man who 
took care of them and of the garden, one man and 
two maid servants. By the good economy of my 
wife we lived comfortably. She superintended the 
care of the garden, which, under her management, 
was always productive." 

The neighboring people were wealth}'-, and simple 
in their mode of life and thoughts. Card-playing 
was the usual evening entertainment, and presently 
Mr. Edgeworth found himself engaged in mechanical 
and scientific studies by himself for want of society 
of the kind he enjoyed. Smiths and carriage-build- 


ei's were, with a workshop of his own, a great re- 
source; and he visited their shops frequently. It 
was not till many years later that he became more 
interested in general literature, and then ventured 
on authorship. His hobby was scientific and me- 
chanical studies. When it became necessary for him 
to keep terms at the Temple, he was obliged to live 
in London more or less ; and there he became inti- 
mate with his brother-in-law, Capt. Elers, who lived 
much with his aunts, the Misses Blake, in Great 
Russell Street, Bloomsbury. 

In 1767 Mr. Edge worth was making experiments 
in telegraphing at Hare Hatch, and also trying 
experiments of various kinds with carriages. He 
resided at Hare Hatch, with the exception of short 
visits to friends, till he again went to London to 
complete his terms at the Temple. While he was 
experimenting in telegraphing, trying flying carriages, 
and visiting his friends in London, who found him 
a very agreeable companion, his second child was 
born, Jan. 1, 1767. 

This child was Maeia Edgeworth, whose birth 
in her grandfather's house at Black Bourton undoubt- 
edly ]3leased her parents and relations; but they 
could hardly have realized that before her death her 
name would be known and respected throughout the 
world where the English language and literature were 
understood, and a love of learning and pure morality 
aj^preciated. The early years of Maria's life were 
passed largely at Black Bourton with her grandpar- 
ents, and at Hare Hatch with her mother and father. 
Mr. Edgeworth was not a bad husband ; but he has 


left unequivocal testimony to the fact, that his home 
WHS most uncongenial to him, both in direct state- 
ment and in inference from his frequent absences 
from home. He says, — 

" My wife was prudent, domestic, and affectionate ; but 
she was not of a cheerful temper. She lameutod about 
trifles ; and the lamenting of a female, with whom we live, 
does not render home delightful." 

Bnt he thinks he lived at home more than was 
usual with men of his age and time. He was absent, 
however, very much ; visiting London often, and 
occasionally Birmingham. Of his visit to Ireland 
with his young son and Mr. Day, some account must 
be given ; as well as that visit made to Lichfield, 
where he was introduced to that celebrated coterie of 
which Dr. Darwin was the great man, and ^Nliss Anna 
Seward 1 the queen. There he met Miss Honora 
Sneyd, the adopted sister of Miss Seward, who expa- 
tiates on her growing charms in many a verse, and 
laments her death with mournful numbers, more 
filled with genuine feeling than with poetic fire. i\fr. 
Edgeworth's first visit to Lichfield occurred curiously 
enough. He had heard of Dr. Darwin's success in 
constructing a famous phaeton upon a new princi- 
ple ; namely, " that in turning round, it continued to 
stand upon four points nearly at equal distances 
from each other ; whereas in carriages with a crane- 
neck, when the four wheels are locked under the 
perch, the fore carriage is very unsteady, being sup- 
ported upon only three points." 

1 Anna Seward. Famous iu her day aa a poetess. The friend 
aud biographer of Dr, Darwiu. 1717-lSO'J. 


Mr. Edgeworth, acting upon this hint, made him- 
self a very handsome phaeton ; and, upon its being 
approved by the Society for the Encouragement of 
Arts, he told the society whence he derived his plan 
for making it, and wrote also to Dr. Darwin. The 
doctor, though he thought him a coachmaker, wrote 
him a very civil answer, and invited him to visit him 
at Lichfield. 

The visit of Mr. Edgeworth to Lichfield was 
attended with results of vital importance to his 
future happiness, as we shall see in the course of our 
narrative. His first introduction to Dr. Darwin was 
oddly made. He reached his house, to find him out, 
but was hospitably received by Mrs. Darwin, who 
invited him to supper. Presently Dr. Darwin ar- 
rived, bringing with him a drunken man whom he 
had found nearly suffocated in a ditch, and, when 
this gentleman was viewed by candle-light, it was 
found that he was Mrs. ' Darwin's brother. They 
took it very coolly, but assured Mr. Edgeworth that 
this was the first time he had ever been intoxicated 
in his life. 

" During this scene I had time to survey my new friend, 
Dr. Darwin," says Mr. Edgeworth. "He was a large 
man, fat and rather clumsy ; but intelligence and benevo- 
lence were painted in his countenance. He had a consid- 
erable impediment in his speech, a defect which is in 
general painful to others ; but the doctor repaid his audi- 
tors so well for making them wait for his wit or his 
knowledge, that he seldom found them impatient." 

After some conversation, and a little evident sur- 
prise at finding Mr. Edgeworth at supper with his 


wife, " Why I I thought " said the doctor, " that you 
were only a coachniaker ! " — " That was the rea- 
son," said I, " tliat you looked surprised at finding 
me at supper with Mrs. Darwin. But you see, doc- 
tor, how superior in discernment ladies are even to 
the most learned gentlemen : I assure you that I 
had not been in the room five minutes before Mrs. 
Darwin asked me to tea." 

In Galton's " Hereditary Genius," he says Dr. Dar- 
win "sprang from a lettered and intellectual race, as 
his father was one of the earliest members of the 
Spaulding Club." 

One listener gives a description of his conversation 
which will amuse the reader. He was talking about 
the Calmia flower, which it turned out afterwards he 
had never seen. 

"It is a flower of such exquisite beauty that it would 
make you waste the summer's day in examining it : you 
would forget the hour of dinner, all 3-our senses would 
be absorbed in one, — you would be all eye." I smiled, 
and asked him to describe it. " What, in the first place, 
was its color?" — " Precisely that of a seraph's plume." 
"We laughed, as he intended we should, at the accuracy of 
the description. He told us afterwards that he had heard 
much of the flower, but as yet had not seen it." 

The doctor was pleased to find in the maker of 
the phaeton an intelligent and well-informed gentle- 
man, and the next day introduced him to some lit- 
erary people, among whom was Miss Anna Seward. 

"How much of my future life," he exclaims, "has 
depended upon this visit to Lichfield ! . . . . Miss 


Seward was at this time in the height of youth and 
beauty, of an enthusiastic temper, a votary of the Muses, 
and of the most eloquent and brilliant conversation. Our 
mutual acquaintance was soon made, and it continued to 
be for many years of my life a source of never-failing 

" It seems that Mrs. Darwin had a little pique against 
Miss Seward, who had, in fact, been her rival with the 
doctor. These ladies lived upon good terms ; but there 
frequently occurred little competitions, which amused 
their friends, and enlivened the uniformity that so often 
renders a country town insipid. The evening after my 
arrival, Mrs. Darwin invited Miss Seward, and a very 
large party of her friends, to supper. I was placed 
beside Miss Seward ; and a number of lively sallies 
escaped her, that set the table in good-humor. I remem- 
ber — for we frequently remember the merest trifles which 
happen at an interesting period of our life — that she 
repeated some of Prior's ' Henry and Emma,' of which 
she was always fond ; and, dwelling upon Emma's tender- 
ness, she cited the care that Emma proposed to take of 
her lover, if he were wounded : — 

' To bind his wounds, my finest lawns I'd tear, 
Wash them with tears, and wipe them with my hair.' 

"I acknowledged that tearing her finest lawns, even 
in a wild forest, would be a real sacrifice from a fine lady ; 
and that washing wounds with salt water, though a very 
severe remedy, was thought to be salutary ; but I could 
not think that wiping them with her hair could be either 
a salutary or an elegant operation. I represented, that 
the lady, who must have had by her own account a choice 
of lawns, might have employed some of the coarse sort 
for this operation, instead of having recourse to her hair. 


I pakl Miss Seward, however, some compliments on her 
own beautiful tresses ; and at that moment the watehful 
Mrs. Darwin took this opportunity of drinking Mrs. 
EdgeicortW s health. Miss .Seward's surprise was mani- 
fest. But the mirth this unexpected discovery made fell 
but lightly upon its objects ; for Miss Seward, with per- 
fect good-humor, turned the laugh in her favor. The 
next evening the same society re-assembled at another 
house, and for several ensuing evenings I passed my time 
in different agreeable companies in Lichfield." 

The following stanzas were written on the window 
of the George Inn, at Lichfield, by the Rev. W. B. 
Stevens of Repton, Derbyshire. They were sent by 
Anna Seward to the ladies of Llangollen. 

" Fair city ! lift, with conscious glory crowned, 
The spiry structure of thy Mercian state ; 
"While History bids her ancient tramp resound 
How War, in wrath, unbarred thy blood-stained gate. 

Not that the praise of ancient days alone 
Is thine, fair city, blest through every age ; 
War's scythed car, yon miracles of stone, 
Bow to the splendors of thy lettered page. 

Here Johnson fashioned his elaborate style; 
And Truth, well i^leased, the moral work surveyed; 
Here, on her darling's cradle wont to smile, 
Thalia with her Garrick fondly played. 


And here the flower of England's virgin train, — 
Boast of our isle, Lichfield's jieculiar pride, — 
Here Seward caught the dew-drops for her strain 
From grief and pity's intermingled tide. 
Exult, fair city ! and indulge the praise 
A grateful stranger to thy glory pays." 

During this visit to Lichfield, Mr. Eclgeworth made 
many pleasant acquaintances and friends. There 
and then he met the lady destined to be his second 
wife, Miss Honora Sneyd. Mr. Seward, who was a 
canon of Lichfield Cathedral, as well as rector of 
Eyam in Derbyshire, was a man of learning and 
taste, fond of society, and very amiable. His many 
good qualities drew around him a circle of warmly 
attached friends ; and his residence, tlie bishop's pal- 
ace at Lichfield, was the resort of the cultivated peo- 
ple of the neighborhood. INIrs. Seward was a worthy 
wife to this excellent man, and seconded him in his 
good works. Under her care INIiss Honora Sneyd, 
the daughter of Edward Snej^d, Esq., was brought 
up and educated. Mr. Sneyd became a widower in 
early life, and his relations and friends were anxious 
to alleviate his loss by taking charge of his five 
daughters. Mrs. Seward, with her daughters Anna 
and Sally, had the care of Honora ; who acquired an 
ardent love of literature and an elevated taste from 
the influence and training of Miss Anna Seward. 

The foibles of Anna Seward were many, but she 
had a clear head and a warm heart. Early flattery, 
and the distinction paid her in a coterie like that of 
Lichfield, were injurious ; and her egotism and vanity 


were increased to tlie detriment of her finer qualities. 
Wlien Mr. Edgewortli first met her, Miss Seward 
was not an acknowledged authoress ; nor was it till 
1782 that her first poetical romance of Louisa was 
published. All her works show a superabundance 
of language and epithet, and her later writings are 
almost unreadable from the gushing sentimentalism 
with which they abound. She was an industrious 
and scholarly writer : says herself of her habits in a 
sonnet, — 

" I love to rise ere breaks the tardy light, 
Winter's pale day." 

The verbose and extravagant pen of Miss Seward 
described the advent of Richard Lovell Edgeworth 
at Lichfield, in her life of Dr. Darwin, thus : — 

"About the year 17G5, came to Lichfleld, from the 
neighborhood of Reading, the young and gay philosopher, 
Mr. Edgeworth, a man of fortune, and recently married 
to an Elers of Oxfordshire. The fame of Dr. Darwin's 
various talents allured Mr. Edgeworth to the city they 
graced. Then scarcely two and twenty, and with an 
exterior yet more juvenile, he had mathematic science, 
mechanic ingenuity, and a competent portion of classi- 
cal learning, with the possession of the modern languages. 
His address was gracefully spirited, and his conversation 
eloquent. He danced, he fenced, and winged his arrows 
with more than philosophic skill ; yet did not the con- 
sciousness of those lighter endowments abate his ardor in 
the pursuit of knowledge." 

She was once talking about two brilliant spirits 
of different sexes with Mr. Edgeworth, when he 


exclaimed, " If that man and woman were to marry, 
they would skim the moon ! " 
She writes of Mr. Day, — 

" He was less graceful, less amusing, less brilliant than 
Mr. Edgeworth, but more highly imaginative, more classi- 
cal, and a deeper reasoner." 

To return to Mr. Edgeworth 's life at Hare Hatch : 
he there made and perfected several machines, for 
which he received a gold and silver medal from the 
Society for the Encouragement of Arts, etc. At 
this time (that is, shortly after his return to Hare 
Hatch from Lichfield, where he met Dr. Darwin and 
his friends), Mr Edgeworth made the acquaintance 
of several men who were celebrated for their talents 
and taste. Among these were Mr. Keir of Birming- 
ham, Mr. Bolton, Mr. Watt, Mr. Wedgwood, Dr. 
Small, and last, but not least, must be named Mr. 
Thomas Day.^ 

" This mutual intimacy has never been broken but by 
death, nor have any of the number failed to distinguish 
themselves in science or literature. Some may think that 
I ought with due modesty to except myself. 

" Mr. Keir, with his liuowledge of the world, and good 
sense ; Dr. Small, with his benevolence and profound 
sagacity ; Wedgwood, with his unceasing industry, ex- 
perimental variety, and calm investigation ; Bolton, with 
his mobilit}^, quick perception, and bold adventure ; Watt, 
with his strong inventive faculty, undeviating steadiness, 
and unbounded resource ; Darwin, with his imagination, 
science, and poetical excellence ; and Day, with his un- 

1 Thomas Day, a poet and miscellaneous writer, autlior of tlie 
well-kuown story of Saudford and Merton. 17i8-89. 

MR. DAY. 39 

wearied research after truth, his integrity and eloquence, 
— formed altogether such a society as few men have the 
good fortune to live with : such an assemblage of friends 
as fewer still have had the happiness to possess, and keep 
through life." 

" The Linnsean Society of the INIidland Counties 
was well known once," says Galton in liis " Heredi- 
tary Genius." Wall, Bolton, and Darwin were the 
chief notabilities. There is frequent allusion to a 
man whose name alone remains, but who appeared 
to exercise a marked effect on his associates, Dr. 

The extraordinary man who sought Mr. Edge- 
worth's friendship, and for twenty-three years was 
his most intimate and esteemed friend, was at this 
time a student at Oxford, and lived at B archill, in 
Berkshire. He was of the same college as Mr. 
Edgeworth, and had his tutor. Mr. Edgeworth and 
Mr. Day had many points of common interest ; and 
" to the day of his death," he writes, " we continued 
to live in the most intimate and unvarying friend- 
ship, — a friendship founded upon mutual esteem 
between persons of tastes, habits, pursuits, manners, 
and connections totally different. A love of knowl- 
edge, and a freedom from that admiration of splen- 
dor which dazzles and enslaves mankind, were the 
only essential points in which we entirely agreed." 
This eccentric young gentleman could not have 
been at all prepossessing in appearance : " he seldom 
combed his raven locks, though he was remarkably 
fond of washing them in the stream." Full of con- 
tradiction, he scorned — or affected to scorn — love. 


and delighted, even in the company of women, to des- 
cant on the evils brought upon mankind by love : he 
used, after enumerating a long and dismal catalogue, 
to exclaim with the satiric poet, — 

" These, and a thousand more we find : 
Ah ! fear the thousand yet unnamed behmd." 

With all his eccentricities, Mr. Day was amiable 
and virtuous ; and though he affected to scorn 
beauty in women, and was determined not to marry, 
yet his life was made up of philosoph}', and most 
unphilosophical attempts to marry. Mrs. Edgeworth 
took a strong dislike to Mr. Day, and her husband 
says this " jealousy was a source of great uneasiness 
to me." Mr. Day made a visit to Ireland with Mr. 
Edgeworth after he had known him a year or two, 
and there wished to marry his sister, Margaret Edge- 
worth, who listened to his proposal, but seemed not 
to feel very warmly towards her admirer. He had 
entered the Temple ; and she was prevailed upon to 
acknowledge, that if in a year's time he should con- 
tinue in the same mind, and improve his manners, 
she might be induced to reward him by her hand. 
Miss Edgeworth studied metaphysics, which Mr. Day 
had recommended her ; but she did not find encour- 
agement in her study, and gave up both her lover 
and her studies, not long after, to marry Mr. John 
Ruxton of Black Castle, a gentleman who was in 
the army, but soon after left it. Mr. Day, who was 
much chagrined by his rejection, was no wise daunted 
by it, and then put his extraordinary project into 
execution of educating himself a wife. He selected 


for this purpose two orphan girls from the foundling 
hospital, of the ages of eleven and twelve. One, 
the first he took, was apprenticed without Mr. Edge- 
worth's knowledge to liim, as it was necessary that 
the girl should be thus bound to some married man. 
His visit to France for the purpose of secluding 
these girls from all influences but his own became 
rather monotonous, and he returned in 1769. 

The second girl, after Mr. Day's return from his 
visit, was found by him either "invincibly stupid," or 
perhaps not disposed to follow his eccentric arrange- 
ments. On ]\Ir. Day's return, after he had parted 
with the unruly girl, he took a house at Stow Hill, 
near Lichfield, and began there to devote himself 
anew to the education of Sabriua Sidney. 

It was after his settling himself at Stow Hill, that 
Mr. Edgeworth spent the Christmas of 1770 with 
him. In the year 1769, while Mr. Edgeworth was 
still at Hare Hatch, his father's health failing sud- 
denly, he was called to Ireland ; and he found him 
m Dublin, suffering under the disease of which he 
died in his seventieth year. Mr. Richard Edgeworth 
was a man of excellent character, and highly re- 
spected by all who knew him. For twenty-five years 
he sat in the Irish parliament. He was twice offered 
and declined the baronetage ; to which he had a claim 
as ancient as James the First, when a patent was 
prepared for Francis Edgeworth, clerk of the Han- 

By Richard Edgeworth senior's death a material 
difference was made in his son's affairs. He suc- 
ceeded to an estate which was sufficiently large to 


relieve him from the necessity of following a profes- 
sion , and he was not called to the bar, though he 
had completed his terms. 

It was during Mr. Edgeworth's Christmas visit 
at Lichfield in 1770, that he began to see the " supe- 
riority of Miss Honora Sneyd's capacity." 

"Her memory was not copiously stored with poetry, 
and, though no ways deficient, her knowledge had not been 
much enlarged by books ; but her sentiments were on all 
subjects so just, and were delivered with such blushing 
modesty (though not without an air of conscious worth), 
as to command attention from every one capable of appre- 
ciating female excellence. Her person was graceful, her 
features beautiful, and their expression such as to 
heighten the eloquence of every thing she said. I was 
six and twenty ; and now, for the first time in my life, I 
saw a woman that equalled the picture of perfection 
which existed in my imagination. I had long suffered 
from the want of that cheerfulness in a wife, without 
which marriage could not be agreeable to a man of such a 
temper as mine. I had borne this evil, I believe, with 
patience ; but my not being happy at home exposed me 
to the danger of being too happy elsewhere." 

In short, Mr. Edgeworth, who certainly was re- 
markable for his power over all his family and 
friends in impressing them with his strength of 
character, had great eccentricities and peculiarities ; 
and he is reported to have said, " I am not a man of 
prejudice : I have had four wives ; the second and 
third were sisters, and I was in love with the second 
in the lifetime of the first." On this Christmas visit 
his fate was sealed ; and his home, already distasteful 


to him, became still more unattractive. Miss Honora 
Sneyd is the lady whose connection with jNIajor 
Andrd^ is made the subject of a note by INIiss 
Seward in her "Monody on the Death of INlajor 

In this note Miss Seward asserts that Mr. Andr^, 
in despair upon Miss Sneyd's rejection, entered the 
army. He certainly 7oas deeply attached to the lady ; 
but the parents on both sides discouraged the match 
from prudential motives, as Mr. Andre had no for- 
tune. Mr. Edgeworth attempts to disprove the fact 
that Major Andr^ was engaged to Miss Sneyd, and 
thinks it very strange that Miss Seward should " in- 
sinuate " that he was jilted by her ; but the dates he 
brings to prove that Major Andr^ entered the army 
two years before Miss Sneyd married him have no 
special value. 

Mr. Edgeworth says, — 

" Mr. Andre appeared to me pleased and dazzled by 
the lady. Slie admired and estimated highly his talents, 
but he did not possess the reasoning mind which she 
required. ' ' 

George Augustus Sala undoubtedly thought Miss 
Seward's opinion the true version of the case ; for, in 
a sketchy article in " Belgravia " some years since, he 
said of Major Andre, — 

"He was bred to commercial pursuits; but he aban- 
doned the pen for the sword, and obtained a commission 
in the line. He rose to the rank of major, and to fill 
the high post of adjutant-general to the British army in 

1 Andre, Jolin, born in England, 17i9. "Was hung as a spy in 
America, Oct. 2, 1780. 


America. He was personally as beautiful as Raphael. 
He was learned and accomplished, painted admiral)ly, 
drew caricatures, wrote charming verses ; and his epistles 
to Honora Sneyd (whom he failed to win, and who mar- 
ried a kind of madman, and died early) are among the 
most charming love-letters in our language. ... It is 
true that he had been jilted by a woman, but time and 
employment are the best of Roman cements to mend a 
broken heart withal." 

Mr. Edgeworth woukl have been annoyed by hear- 
ing himself described as a "kind of madman." 

]\ Seward says of the attachment between 
Andre and Honora Sneyd, — 

"All the dark color of Andre's fate took its tint from 
disappointed and unconquerable attachment to her." 

In allnding to Honora's feeling, she says it was 
"a mere componnd of gratitude and esteem." Col. 
Barr}^ who succeeded Major Andr6 as adjutant- 
general to the British forces in America, wrote 
Miss Seward of Honora, that she was " the only 
woman he had ever seriously loved , that he never 
beheld a being in whom the blending charms of mind 
and person could approach the lustre of those which 
glowed in the air, the look, the smile, the glance, and 
the eloquence of Honora Sneyd." Miss Seward calls 
her '''-my Madame de Grignan." She says of this 
young lady,— 

" To the varying glories of her countenance, when she 
was expressing her oh'», or nstening to the effusions of 
genius, no pencil could do justice." 


In Miss Seward's poem, written in 1772, called 
" Time Past," she says, — 

"Affection, friendship, sympathy, — your throne 
Is winter's glowing hearth ; and ye were ours. 
Thy smile, IIonoka, made them all our own : 
Where are they now ? Alas 1 their choicest flowers 
Faded at thy retreat ; for thou art gone. 
And many a dark, long eve I sigh alone, 
In thrilled remembrance of the vanished hours, 
When storms were dearer than the balmy gales, 
And winter's bare, bleak fields, than green luxurious vales." 

She addressed Sonnet IV. to Honora Sneyd, 
"whose health was always best in winter," — in May, 
1770, — and tells her she prizes less the beauties of 
spring than " drear winter's naked hedge and plashy 
field," because these please Honora. 

Miss Seward tells a story of " an awkward, pedan- 
tic youth, once resident for a little time at Lichfield. 
He was asked if he liked Miss Honora Sneyd. ' Al- 
mighty powers,' replied the oddity, 'I could not 
have conceived that she had half the face she has ! ' 
Honora was finely rallied about this imputed pleni- 
tude of face." The fair Honora probably was the 
cause of unsettling Major Andre's mind, if noth- 
ing more ; and she effectually disturbed the equa- 
nimity of Mr. Day, who also took it into his head 
to fall in love with her, and wrote her, finally, 
after several months of courtship, an enormous 
packet containing a plan of the life he wished to 
lead, and a proposal of marriage, in which he pointed 
out to her the folly of living in the world, and wished 
her to retire fi'om it with him. He intrusted this 


packet to Mr. Edgeworth, who had so far suppressed 
his own feelings as to visit Lichfield with his family, 
to try and overcome his secret attachment to Miss 
Sneyd. Mr. Day, who had combated his apparently 
hopeless attachment, and written him a letter of 
good advice, now asked Mr. Edgeworth to be his 
ambassador to Miss Sneyd. Mr. Edgeworth says, 
" I delivered it, with real satisfaction, to Honora ; " 
but whether it was because it would set at rest his 
friend's pretensions or not, is uncertain. Mr. Day 
had for Miss Sneyd's sake sent Sabrina Sydney to 
school. He was destined to a severe disappointment. 
Miss Sneyd " would not admit the unqualified con- 
trol of a husband over all her actions : she did not 
feel that seclusion from society was indispensably 
necessary to preserve female virtue, or to secure 
domestic happiness." And she declined leaving her 
mode of life "for any dark and untried system." 
This was a blow to Mr. Day, who was really ill for 
some days, and took to his bed ; where Dr. Darwin 
bled him, and administered with his philosophical 
reflections "to that part of him most diseased, — his 
mind." In a few weeks the lover's mind was di- 
verted by the appearance of Miss Elizabeth Sneyd 
at Lichfield. 

Mr. Edgeworth says of this meeting, — 

"I had introduced archery as an amusement among 
the gentlemen in the neighborhood, and had proposed a 
prize of a silver arrow, to be shot for at a bowling-green, 
where our butts had been erected. All the ladies who 
frequented the amusements of Lichfield were assembled ; 


and INIiss Seward appeared with her usual sprightliness 
aud address, aceompauied l)y llonora. 

"We had music and dancing: some of tlie gentlemen 
fenced and vaulted and leaped ; and the summer's even- 
ing was spent with as much innocent clieerfuiness as any 
evening that I can remember. Miss Elizabetli Sneyd and 
her father came among us in the middle of our amuse- 
ments. Just as a country dance was nearly ended, Miss 
Honora Sneyd inti'oduced me to her sister, desiring me 
to dance with her, to prevent her being engaged by some 
stranger, with whom they might afterwards not choose to 
form an acquaintance. Miss Elizabeth Sneyd was, in the 
opioiou of half the persons who knew them, the hand- 
somest of the two sisters : her eyes were uncommonly 
beautiful and expressive, she was of a clear brown and 
of a more healthy complexion than Honora. vShe had 
acquired more literature, had more what is called the 
manners of a person of fashion, had more wit, more 
vivacity, and certainly more humor, than her sister. She 
had, however, less personal grace : she walked heavily, 
danced indifferently, had much less energy of manner 
aud of character, and was not endowed with, or had 
not then acquired, the same powers of reasoning, the 
same inquiring range of understanding, the same love of 
science, or, in one word, the same decisive judgment, as 
her sister. 

" Notwithstanding something fashionable in this young 
lady's appearance, Mr. Day observed her with complacent 
attention. Her dancing but indifferently, and with no 
symptom of delight, pleased Mr. Day's fancy ; her con- 
versation was playful, and never disputatious, so that 
Mr. Day had liberty aud room enough to descant at large 
and at length upon whatever became the subject of cou- 


This lady claims our interest ; for she became Mr. 
Edgworth's third wife in course of time, in defiance 
of law and " prejudice." Mr. Sneyd, who had hith- 
erto lived in London, assembled all liis daughters to 
live with him at Lichfield ; and Miss Elizabeth, who 
had till then lived with Mr. and Mrs. Henry Powys 
(of the Abbey), Shrewsbury, was the next object 
of Mr. Day's attention. She, on her part, was struck 
by Mr. Day's eloquence ; and she listened well (a 
great attraction) while he "descanted at large and 
at length upon whatever became the subject of con- 
versation." His educating a young girl for his wife, 
" his unbounded generosity, his scorn of wealth and 
titles, his romantic notions of love, — which led him 
to think, that, when it was mutual and genuine, the 
rest of the world vanished, and the lovers became all 
in all to each other, — made a deep impression upon 
her." In short, his heart was caught at a rebound ; 
and Elizabeth had made more impression in three 
weeks upon Mr. Day than her superior sister had in 
twelve months. 



Mr. Day and Mr. Edgeworth visit France, accompanied by Young 
Richard.— Richard's Education. — Residence in France. — Eiu- 
ployiueut tliere. — Mrs. Edgewortli's Death. — Mr. Edgeworth re- 
turns to England. — Second Marriage. — Maria goes to Ireland 
with Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth. — Life there.— Tliey return to 
England. — Mr. Day's Marriage. —Mr. Edgeworth's Irish Jour- 
ney. —Mrs. Edgewortli's Illness. — Maria sent to Boarding- 
School. — Mrs. Edgeworth's Death. — Maria's First Literary 
Work. — Her Removal to a Loudon Boardiug-School. 

Mr. Day's regard for Honora Sneyd died with 
her rejection. Mr. Edgeworth's " former admiration 
returned with unabated ardor." The more he "com- 
pared her with other women, the more he was 
obUged to acknowledge her superiority." Plonora 
herself " conversed with me with freedom," he says, 
" and seemed to feel that I was the first person who 
had seen the full value of her character. Miss Sew- 
ard shone so brightly, that all objects within her 
sphere were dimmed by her lustre." She was, how- 
ever, generous and noble-minded, and showed and 
felt only gratification at seeing her dear young friend 
admired so strongly by their new friend. INIr. Day 
alone knew the intense feeling with which Mr. 
Edgeworth regarded this charming creature, and he 
used all his philosophy to represent to him the 
danger of allowing himself to think of Miss Sneyd 
at all. Mr. Edgeworth himself knew that there was 


but one certain method of escaping siicli dangers, — 
" flight ; " and he resolved upon going to France. 
Mr. Day, who, meanwhile, had been convinced by 
Elizabeth Sneyd that " he could not with propriety 
abuse and ridicule talents in which he appeared 
deficient," such as riding well, dancing gracefully, 
and the other accomplishments, thought he would go 
Avith liis friend, and make himself worthy of his new 
lady-love. She, meantime, put herself through a 
course of reading, and promised not to go to Lon- 
don, Bath, or any other public places of amusement, 
till his return. 

Mr. Edgeworth, with a mixture of his usual sang- 
froid and philosophy, endeavored to persuade him- 
self and all his friends that he felt no more than 
common esteem for Honora : he took every opportu- 
nity of declaring his intention of living on his Irish 
estates on his return, and of persuading her that 
" young women who had not large fortunes, should 
not disdain to marry," even if they could not find 
heroes. "Honora listened, and assented ;" and they 
left England and the ladies, to try France. They 
were accompanied by Richard, Mr. Edgeworth's 
eldest child. This boy Mr. Edgeworth had deter- 
mined, shortly after his birth at Black Bourton in 
1764, to educate according to the system of Rous- 
seau. He says, — 

"His ' fimile ' had made a great impression upon my 
young mind, as it had done upon the imaginations of 
many far my superiors in age and understanding. His 
work had then all the power of novelty, as well as all the 
charms of eloquence; and when I compared the many 

Rousseau's system of education. 51 

plausil)le ideas it contains, with the obvious deficiencies 
and absurdities that I saw in the treatment of ehiUhen 
in ahnost every family with which I was acquanited, 1 
determined to make a fair trial of Rousseau's system. 
My wife compUed with my wishes, and the body and mind 
of my son were to be left as much as possilile to the edu- 
cation of nature and of accident. I was but twenty-three 
years old when I formed this resolution : I steadily pur- 
sued it for several yeai's, notwithstanding the opposition 
with which I was embarrassed Ity my friends and relations, 
and the ridicule by which I became immediately assailed 
on all quarters. 

"I dressed my son without stockings, with his arms 
bare, in a jacket and trousers such as are quite common 
at present, but which at that time were novel and extraor- 
dinary. I succeeded in making him remarkably hardy ; 
I also succeeded in making him fearless of danger, and, 
what is more difficult, capable of bearing privation of 
every sort. He had all the virtues of a child bred in the 
hut of a savage, and all the knowledge of things which 
could well be acquired at an early age by a boy bred in 
civilized society. I say knowledge of tilings, for of books 
be had less knowledge at seven or eight years old than 
most children have at four or five. Of mechanics he had a 
clearer conception, and, in the application of what he knew, 
more invention, than any child I had then seen. He was 
bold, free, fearless, generous : he had a ready and keen 
use of all his senses and of his judgment. But he was 
not disposed to obey : his exertions generally arose from 
his own will ; and though he was what is commonly called 
good tempered and good natured, though he generally 
pleased l)y his looks, demeanor, and conversation, he had 
too little deference for others, and he showed an invinci- 
ble dislike to control. With me, he was always what I 


wished ; with others, he was never any thing hut what he 
wished to be liimself. He was, by all who saw him, 
whether of the higher or lower classes, taken notice of ; 
and by all considered as very clever. I speak of a child 
between seven and eight years old ; and, to prevent inter- 
ruption in my narrative, I here represent the effects of 
his education from three to eight years old, during which 
period I pursued Rousseau's plan." 

On tlieir journey to France, Mr. Edgeworth took 
with him the boy, leaving Mrs. Edgeworth and two 
little girls behind, Maria and Emmeline. Mr. Edge- 
worth passed nearly two years in France ; most of 
the time being spent at Lyons, where he exercised 
his engineering skill in constructing a bridge for 
wheelbarrows across a ravine, and a kind of ferry- 
bridge, — both to be used in the work of diverting 
the Rhone into a new channel in order to enlarge the 

When Mr. Edgeworth found that his work was 
likely to engage him for some months, he sent for 
his wife, whom he had left at Black Bourton with 
her father and sisters. Accompanied by one of her 
sisters, she accordingly went to Lyons, and spent some 
months ; but at the beginning of the winter, being 
tired of French society, and anxious to be in Eng- 
land, where she had left her children, she returned 
to Black Bourton under the care of Mr. Day, who 
went home to claim as the reward of his labors the 
hand of Elizabeth Sneyd. 

On Mr. Day's return to England, he found that 
Miss Sneyd could not feel for him the attachment 
which he had hoped, could not give him her heart ; 

MK. day's WAIID. 53 

and so for that time he was again disappointed in 
his matrimonial views. JNliss Sneyd is reported to 
have said slie preferred " Thomas Day blackguard 
to Thomas Day gentleman.'''' 

In the course of the next few years, he found 
himself strongly interested in his ward Sabrina Syd- 
ney, and would undoubtedly have married her but 
for an unfortunate circumstance. She had become 
an interesting and attractive woman, and was much 
attached to her benefactor. He had in every way 
felt satisfied with her conduct, till a trifling occur- 
ence annoyed him inexpressibly, and he at once 
abandoned all idea of making her his wife. He had 
left her at the house of a friend, under strict injunc- 
tions as to some peculiar fancies of his own : among 
these were some requests as to her dress. She ivas 
or was not to wear a certain style of sleeves and 
handkerchief then in vogue , and he considered her 
acting negligently in this respect as a mark of 
her want of attachment to him, and as a proof of 
her want of strength of mind ; and so he at once 
and decidedly gave her up. Mr. Day we must leave 
for a time, but shall find him married at last. 

]\Ir. Edgeworth, whom we left in Lyons, was still 
busied about his plans for the alteration of the bed 
of the Rhone, when news reached him, in March, 
that Mrs. Edgeworth, who had returned to England 
in the fall, had an infant daughter. This child 
(Anna) was but a few days old, when Mrs. Edge- 
worth died. Mr. Edgeworth immediately set out for 
England. The company of Lyons conferred upon 
him a deed of a lot of ground in the new town they 



had "won from the ancient conflux of the Rhone 
and the Saone ; " and he was also offered the ribbon 
of the order of St. Michael, but declined it. This 
property was lost at the revolution. 

On Mr. Edgeworth's return to England, Mr. Day 
met him at Woodstock, and told him that Honora 
Sneyd was more beautiful than ever, and " still her 
own mistress," though surix)unded by lovers. The 
magnanimity of Mr. Day was shown here, by his 
coming several hundred miles to assure his friend 
that a woman who had refused him was still as fair 
as, more beautiful in fact than, when she declined to 
leave the world and its pleasures for him. Mr. 
Edgeworth at once went to Lichfield, and naturally 
he was sure that INIiss Sneyd appeared " even more 
lovely than when we parted." After some time, he 
found that Honora did reciprocate his feelings ; and 
they were married by special license, on July 17, 
1773, in the cathedral of Lichfield. Miss Seward 
felt some annoyance about the choice of a brides- 
maid, but was on the whole glad to see her beloved 
Honora — whom she is never weary of celebrating 
in her verses — united to one so well suited to her. 
Though she never forgave Mr. Edgeworth, Miss 
Seward retained very touching recollections of Ho- 
nora all her life. There are constant references to 
her in her poems and letters. Among the poems 
are several sonnets in which she refers openly to 
the broken intimacy between herself and her friend. 
She speaks in one place of " her tiir, her smile, — 
spells of the vanished years," — as appearing before 
her vision, reminding her of "days long fled, in 


Pleasure's golden reign, the youth of changed Ilono- 
ra." There are others in which she laments the 
death of Mrs. Edgeworth, and hints at neglect, with- 
ont venturhig to name ^Nlr. Edgeworth. In April, 
1773, she addressed some verses to her, beginning, — 

" HoNORA, should that cruel time arise, 
When 'gainst my truth you should'st my errors prize." 

In Sonnet XII., written in July, 1773, the month 
of Honora's marriage. Miss Seward pours forth her 
unhappiness. Others follow in similar strain. 


Chilled by unkind Honora's altered eye, 

" Why droops my heart with fruitless woes forlorn," 

Thankless for much of good? What thousands, born 

To ceaseless toil beneatli this wintry sky. 

Or to brave deathful ocean's surging high. 

Or fell disease's fevered rage to mourn, — 

How blest to them would seem my destiny ! 

How dear the comforts my rash sorrows scorn ! 

Affection is repaid by causeless hate ! 

A plighted love is changed to cold disdain I 

Yet suffer not thy wrongs to shroud thy fate. 

But turn, my soul, to blessings which remain ; 

And let this truth the wise resolve create : 

The heart estra-Nged no anguish cax regain. 

JCLT, 1773. 

Mr. Edgeworth's son Richard entered the navy 
early under his kinsman Lord Longford. The care 
of the three girls, ^laria, Emmeline, and Anna, was 
assumed by Mrs. Honora Edgeworth at the time of 
her marriage. ]Maria had lived much with her aunts 
and grandparents at Black Bourton, and passed 


months with her great-aunts, the Misses Blake, in 
London. These old ladies were long remembered by 
Maria for their stately figures and dignified bearing. 
She was taken by them to play in the gardens at the 
rear of the British Museum. They lived in Great 
Russell Street. Maria dimly recalled her mother's 
death at this house, and being carried into her room 
for her last embrace. Whatever may have been the 
first Mrs. Edgeworth's deficiencies as to " cheerful- 
ness," she appears to have been a domestic woman, 
— prudent, kind, and a good mother. 

After Mr. Edgeworth's second marriage, he imme- 
diately took his wife to Ireland. Maria accompanied 
them. The house and grounds at Edgeworthstown 
were found to be much out of order. The house, 
which was built early in the eighteenth century, was 
arranged according to the taste of that time, and it 
needed modernizing and altering. Mr. Edgeworth 
says, — 

" The grounds and gardens were in a style correspond- 
ing to the arehitectm-e. The people were in a wretched 
state of idleness and ignorance. "We had brought with 
us some English servants, who soon put our domestic 
economy upon a comfortable footing. The axe and the 
plough were presently at work. The yew hedges and 
screens of clipped elms and horn-beam were cut down, to 
let in the air and the view of green fields. Carpenters 
and masons pulled down and built up," 

" Few gentry " lived near the town, but those who 
did were friends and relations. Maria, being very 
young, remembered little of this visit, "except that 
she was a mischievous child, amusing herself once at 


her aunt Fox's when the company were unmindful 
of her, cutting out the squares in a checked sofa- 
cover, and one da}' trampling through a number of 
hot-bed frames that had just been glazed, laid on the 
grass before the door at Edgeworthstown. She rec- 
ollected her delight at the crashing of the glass, but, 
immorally, did not remember either cutting her feet, 
or how she was punished for this performance." 

After spending three years in Ireland, Mr. and 
;Mrs. Edgeworth returned to England, and visited 
their friends. They took a house at North Church 
in Hertfordshire, near Great Berkhampstead. Mean- 
while Mr. Day was at last on the eve of matrimony. 
He wrote Mr. Edgeworth a long congratulatory letter 
on the occasion of his approaching marriage in 1773, 
and kept up a constant correspondence with him. 
In this letter, in 1773, he says he thinks he is 
" marked out by fate to be an old bachelor, and an 
humorist, destined, perhaps, to become very old, 
because I am very indifferent about the matter ; and 
to buy hobb3--horses for your grand-children; and 
perhaps, as an old fi'iend of the family, admitted to 
mediate for some of the future Miss Edgeworths, 
when they run away with a tall ensign in the guards, 
or their dancing-master." A brief account of his 
occupations during these years may interest the 
reader. He had purchased chambers in the Temple, 
and spent there much of his time, varying his severer 
studies with excursions into the country when the 
fancy seized him. 

After the rupture with Sabrina Sydney, Dr. Small 
proposed to his eccentric friend that he shoidd marry 


a INIiss INIilnes of Yorkshire, a lady whose wealth was 
only an adjunct to her excellent mental qualities, 
and whose benevolence and charity were unbounded. 
Her superiority of understanding was so generally 
admitted among her acquaintances, that "to dis- 
tinguish her from another Miss Milnes, a relative of 
hers, who had been called Venus, she had acquired 
the name of Minerva." 

All this Dr. Small reported to Mr. Day, the eccen- 
tric Coelebs in search of a wife. 

"But has she white and large arms?" said Mr. 

" She has," replied Dr. Small. 

" Does she wear long petticoats ? " 

" Uncommonly long." 

" I hope she is tall and strong and healthy." 

"Remarkabl}^ little, and not robust. My good 
friend," added Dr. Small, speaking in his leisurely 
manner, " can you possibly expect that a woman of 
charming temper, benevolent mind, and cultivated 
understanding, with a distinguished character, with 
views of life congenial to your own, with an agreea- 
ble person, and a large fortune, should be formed 
exactly according to a picture that exists in your 
imagination ? " 

Finally this good friend persuaded the eccentric 
gentleman to "despise" her fortune, and take the 
lady, if he could achieve such a pattern of excel- 
lence ; and, after a courtship of some months, INIr. 
Day married Miss Milnes. Shortly after their mar- 
riage he carried Mrs. Day to see the Edgeworths at 
Northchurch ; and they found her very pleasing, and 

MRS. DAY. 69 

evidently disposed to gratify her husband in all his 
wishes. Mr. Edgcworth says, " I never saw a woman 
so entirely intent upon accommodating herself to the 
sentiments and wishes and will of a husband ; " and 
this feeling continued. Mr. Day, in a few months, 
bought a small estate called Stapleford Abbot, near 
Abridge in Essex. He built at this place that room 
without windows, which he was too indolent to rise 
from his chair to arrancre for. He meant to cut win- 
dows in the walls afterwards, but it was never done. 
Before he began his work he bought at a stall, " Ware's 
Architecture," and, after reading it assiduously for 
three or four weeks, fell to building on his most 
extraordinary plan. Some years after, he bought 
another house and estate at Anningsley, near Chert- 
sey, in Surrey, to which he removed. He thought 
he did prudently ; because this was one of the most 
unprofitable estates in England, and he should have 
a large scope of ground for a small sum of money. 
Here he tried, upon a large scale, all sorts of doubt- 
ful and unjjrofitable experiments in farming, from 
books which he read on the subject, to the great 
injury of his fortune. 

Miss Seward stated Miss Milnes's fortune at 
twenty-three thousand pounds. After his death 
she wrote the editor of "The General Evening Post," 
who had made some mistake about Mr. Day's prop- 
erty, that "it was twelve hundred pounds per 
annum," adding, — 

"But let him be spoken of as he was, for truth is 
better than indiscriminate eulogiuni. Mr. Day, with first- 


rate abilities, was a splenetic, capricious, yet bountiful 
misanthropist. He bestowed nearly the whole of his 
ample fortune in relieving the necessities of the poor ; 
frequently, however, declaring in conversation, that there 
were few in the large number he fed who would not cut 
his throat the next hour, if their interest could prompt 
the act, and their lives be safe in its commission. He 
took pride in avowing his abhorrence of the luxuries, and 
disdain even of the decencies, of life ; and in his person 
he was generally slovenly, even to squaliduess. On being 
asked by one of his friends why he chose the lonely and 
unpleasant situation in which he lived, he replied, that 
the sole reason of that choice was, its being out of the 
stiuk of human society." 

He entirely separated Mrs. Day from her rehitions 
and friends. 

Mr. Edgeworth, while at Northchnrch, occupied 
himself with mechanical pursuits ; and Mrs. Edge- 
worth to please him " became an excellent theoretic 
mechanic." These pursuits, with the care of Maria 
and her sisters and two little ones of her own, with 
frequent visitors from London, kept them quite 

Mrs. Honora Edgeworth's health began to fail in 
1778 ; and the preparations she was making to join 
Mr. Edgeworth in Ireland, whither he had been 
called by a lawsuit and other business connected 
with his estate, were given up. She met him on his 
return near Daventry ; and, as their house at North- 
church had been let for a year, they proceeded to 
Mr. Sneyd's at Lichfield till they could arrange for 
their future manner of living. 


In 1775, in consequence of Mrs. Honora Edge- 
worth's failing lioalth, Maria was sent to a boarding- 
school kept by a Mrs. LatifBere, at Derby. She 
always spoke with gratitude and affectionate remem- 
brance of this lady. In after-life she used to mention, 
that she felt great admiration at hearing a child 
younger than herself, on the day of her admission 
to this school, repeat the nine parts of speech. She 
was more impressed by this little child's recitation 
than she was by any other effort of the mind after- 
wards. At this school, under the careful instruction 
of a writing-master, Maria's hand-writing was formed; 
and she was noted in after-years for her neat and 
perfect manuscripts. 

Mrs. Honora Edgeworth made a great impression 
in Maria's mind. She early showed her sensibility 
and genius by appreciating that of others. She re- 
membered always the minutest advice Mrs. Honora 
Edgeworth gave her. The surpassing beauty of her 
presence struck Maria, young as she was, at her first 
acquaintance with her. She remembered standing 
by her dressing-table, and looking at her with a 
sudden thought of " How beautiful ! " 

The beauty of Honora was of that wonderful and 
gpirituelle style not destined long to adorn an earthly 
being, and consumption had set its fatal mark of 
precocious mental and physical beauty on her. 

In one of Mr. Edgeworth's early letters to Mr. 
Day, the reader may recollect his concluding with, 
" You know I am no writer : my ideas do not, like 
yours, flow to my pen readily." 

Maria wrote long after, — 


" One little book, however, he and Mrs. Honora Edge- 
worth wrote, I believe, very early in the year 1778 ; when 
she, in teaching her first child to read, found the want of 
something to follow Mrs. Barbauld's Lessons, and felt 
the difficulty of explaining the language of all the other 
books for children which were then in use. 

' Favete linguis — 
Virginibus j)uerisque canto,' 

was the motto of this little volume, which was the first 
part of ' Harry and Lucy, ' — or of ' Practical Educa- 
tion,' as I find it called in the titlepage to the few copies 
which were then printed in large type for the use only of 
his own children. He intended to have carried on the 
history of Harry and Lucy through every stage of child- 
hood ; to have diffused, through natural dialogue or inter- 
esting story, the first principles of morality, with some 
of the elements of science and literature, so as to show 
parents how these may be taught, without wearying the 
pupil's attention. 

"At the time to which I refer, the design was new; 
and scarcely any English writer of eminence, except Dr. 
Watts and Mrs. Barbauld, had condescended to write for 

The summer was spent by Mr. and Mrs. Edge- 
worth at Lichfield, to be near Dr. Darwin ; and, in 
the course of a few months, they visited Mr. Day : 
thence London was of easy access ; and the cele- 
brated Dr. Heberden was called by the anxious hus- 
band, but he gave him no hopes whatever of Mrs. 
Edgeworth's recovery. He took a small house at 
Beighterton, near Shiffnal, in Shropshire : so that they 
were near Lichfield, the Sneyds, and Dr. Darwin. 


Though Mrs. Edgcworth suffered much from the 
consuming progress of her disease, slie found time 
and thought for Maria, and wrote a letter from there 
to her, October, 1779, in which, after impressing on 
her "that it is vain to attempt to please a person 
who will not tell us what they do and what they do 
not desire," she continues, — 

"It is very agreeable to me to think of conversing 
with you as my equal in every respect but age, and of 
my making that inequality of use to you, by giving you 
the advantage of the experience I have had, and the 
observations I have been al)Ie to make, — as these are 
parts of knowledge which nothing but time can bestow." 

In Mrs. Honora Edgeworth's letter, which was 
written from Beighterton, she shows a most tender 
and motherly interest in Maria. In spite of evident 
suffering, the writer seemed to study the happiness 
of others. She tells Maria of her brother's being 
in port for a few days on leave, and speaks of other 
family affairs. At Mrs. Latiffier's, Maria learned to 
use her needle, and became very accomplished in 
artistic embroidery. She always enjoyed surprising 
her friends with little gifts of her own manufacture, 
and throughout her life was an adept at all womanly 
work. In April of 1780 a letter from her father 
contains thanks for an embroidered bag which she 
had sent her mother, who was then too ill to ac- 
knowledge her little step-daughter's remembrance. 
Mr. Edgeworth, in conclusion, says, — 

" It would be very agreeable to me, my dear Maria, to 
have a letter from you familiarly. I wish to know what 


you like and dislike. I wish to communicate to you what 
little knowledge I have acquired, that you may have a 
tincture of ever}'^ species of literature, and form your taste 
by choice and not by chance. . . . Your poor mother 
continues extremely ill." 

Miss Cliaiiotte Sneyd attended her sister with 
devoted care. The end was very near ; and in less 
than a month after the previous letter, Mr. Edge- 
worth wrote, in May, 1780, of the death of his wife. 
He wrote Maria a long letter, wishing to impress 
her with the desire of emulating the virtues of 
that estimable woman whose loss he was called to 

May 2, 1780. 

My dear Daughter, — At six o'clock on Sunday 
morning, your excellent mother expired in my arms. She 
now lies dead beside me ; and I know I am doing what 
would give her pleasure, if she were capable of feeling 
any thing, by writing to j^ou at this time, to fix her 
excellent image on your mind. . . . Continue, my dear 
daughter, the desire which you feel of becoming amiable, 
prudent, and of use. The ornamental parts of a charac- 
ter, with such an understanding as yours, necessarily 
ensue ; but true judgment and sagacity in the choice of 
friends, and the regulation of your behavior, can be had 
only from reflection, and from being thoroughly convinced 
of what experience teaches in general too late, — that to 
be happy we must be good. God bless you, and make 
you ambitious of that valuable praise which the amiable 
character of your dear mother forces from the virtuous 
and the wise. My writing to you in my present situation 
will, my dearest daughter, be remembered by you as the 


strongest proof of the love of your approving and affec- 
tionate futlier. 

The desire for her father's approval, and the 
endeavor to live up to the standard he required, 
became thus early the guiding and controlling influ- 
ence of Maria's life. 

In the same month her father wrote her from 
Lichfield. He says, — 

"I also beg that you will send me a little tale, about 
the length of a ' Spectator,' upon the subject of Gener- 
osity : it must be taken from history or romance, and 
must be sent the sennight after you receive this ; and I 
beg you will take some pains about it." 

The same subject was given at this time to a 
young Oxford student, then at Lichfield. Wlien 
the two stories were done, they were submitted to 
Mr. William Sneyd, Mr. Edge worth's brother-in-law, 
who was to decide on their merits. He pronounced 
Maria's to be very much the best ; saying of it, " An 
excellent story, and extremely well written : but 
where's the generosity?" — a saying which became 
a sort of proverb with Maria afterwards. This was 
Maria's first story, and unfortunately it was not pre- 
served. She used to say there "was in it a sen- 
tence of inextricable confusion between a saddle, 
a man, and his horse." 

In 1780 Maria was removed from Mrs. LatifiQere's 
establishment to the then fashionable boarding-school 
of Mrs. Davis, in Upper Wimpole Street, London. 
]\Irs. Davis treated Maria with kindness and consid- 


eration, though she was " neither beautiful nor fash- 
ionable." She went through the course of tortures 
customary at this period, to improve the figure and 
carriage, — "backboards, iron collars, and dumb- 
bells, with the unusual additional process of being 
swung by the neck, to draw out the muscles and in- 
crease the growth ; " a singular failure in this case, 
for she continued very small. 

The careful instruction Maria received in the 
French and Italian languages at Mrs. Latiffiere's 
placed her ahead of her fellow-pupils in London. 
When she began to write the exercises required 
there, she found she could prepare those for the 
whole quarter in advance ; and she kept them strung 
together on her desk, and, when the teacher called 
for the lesson of the day, she had only to take one 
out, and present it. This offers rather a doubtful 
compliment to the management of the school, where 
proper instruction was not arranged for more ad- 
vanced pupils. Here we have a picture of her, 
seated " under a high ebony cabinet," during play- 
time, so absorbed in her book that she was "per- 
fectly deaf" to all around; and tliis remarkable 
power of concentration and abstraction was of great 
service to her all through life. 

She was remembered by her companions at both 
schools for her entertaining stories ; and she learned 
to know what tale was most successful with her 
hearers, by the wakefulness it caused. These stories 
were told at bedtime. Many of her narrations were 
taken from her memory, — she devoured books while 
her friends played, — but very many were original. 


The spirit of the raconteur was strong, and she had 
early the fertile brain of the true novelist. One which 
was much applauded was that of an adventurer who 
had a mask made of the dried shin of a dead man's 
face. This he put on when he wished a disguise, 
and he kept it hidden at the foot of a tree. 

At school Maria learned to study character. She 
early learned in that little circle to observe pecul- 
iarities, and penetrate beneath the surface of actions 
for the underlying motive. 

Mr. Edgeworth was essentially a utilitarian. He 
was a practical illustration of Bentham's theories. 
When he wrote the letter to his daughter, by Mrs. 
Honora Edgeworth's death-bed, the stress he lays 
upon nsefulness will easily be observed. He was a 
busy man himself, full of projects and plans. He 
impressed these views on the developing mind of 
Maria. Mme. de Stael was reported long after to 
have said Maria was " lost in sad utility ; " and the 
question naturally comes to the mind, when we see 
the irrepressible imagination of the young girl, just 
what her life would have been without her father's 
peculiar influence. 

He checked that superabundance of sentiment 
which would have endangered her clearness of mind ; 
he kept her stimulated and encouraged to write, by 
his advice, criticism, and approbation: but it is to 
be feared that he clipped the wings of fancy, and 
harnessed Pegasus once again, as the rustics did in 
an ancient myth. When she failed in her novels 
to inspire her characters with romantic interest, it 
was because the paramount influence of her father 


asserted itself. She was certainly gifted -with genius 
of a high order ; but her nature was most affection- 
ate, and long habits of respect and devotion to her 
father made it absolutely impossible for her to free 
herself from his views. She was always the dutiful 
daughter, — quite as much so to the last as at the 
time he wrote her of his desire for the tale on 
" Generosity." 



Mr. Edjjeworth's Third Marriase. — Maria's School-Life. — Visits 
Mr. Day in Vacation. — His Influence over her Mind. — Maria 
accompanies the Family to Ireland. — Edgeworthstown. — Man- 
ner of Living at that Time in Ireland. — Maria's Occupations. — 
Translates " Adele et The'odore." — Writes much, without intend- 
ing Publication.— Their Social Life. — Death of Mr. Day. — His 
Writings. —Death of Honora Edgevvorth. — Mrs. Ruxton. — Her 

JNlRS. Honora Edgeworth, when dying, had 
urged her husband to marry her sister Elizabeth. 
This was the young hidy for whose sake Mr. Day 
had gaUantly undergone a course of gymnastic train- 
ing, and taken dancing-lessons in France. She had 
found, on seeing him, that she liked him less as a man 
of fashion than she did in his natural unpolished 
condition, and unceremoniously told him so. Mr. 
Edo-e worth knew less of this sister than he did of 
the other Miss Sneyds, and was not particularly 
attracted to her. She, on her part, fancied she had 
an attachment for a gentleman then abroad. 

About Mrs. Edgeworth's desire he writes, — 

' ' Nothing is more erroneous than the common belief, 
that a man who has Uved in the greatest happiness with 
one wife will be the most averse to take another. On 
the contrary, the loss of happiness which he feels when 
he loses her necessarily urges him to endeavor to be 


again placed in a situation which had constituted his for- 
mer felicity. 

"I felt that Honora had judged wisely and from a 
thorough knowledge of my character, when she had ad- 
vised me to marry again as soon as I could meet with a 
woman who would make a good mother to my children, and 
an agreeable companion to me. She had formed an idea 
that her sister Elizabeth was better suited to me than any 
other woman, and thought that I was equally suited to her. 
Of all Honora' s sisters, I had seen the least of Elizabeth." 

"When Mrs. Edgewortli on her death-bed proposed 
this to her sister, she " expressed the strongest sur- 
prise at the suggestion, not only because I was her 
her sister's husband, and because she had another 
attachment, but independently of these circum- 
stances: as she distinctly said, I was the last man 
of her acquaintance that she should have thought 
of for a husband ; and certainly, notwithstanding 
her beauty, abilities, and polished manners, I believed 
she was as little suited to me." 

After a few months Miss Sneyd and Mr. Edge- 
worth began to alter their opinions ; and they were 
married in December, 1780, less than eight months 
after Mrs. Honora Edgeworth's death. The mar- 
riage was attended with some disagreeable circum- 
stances. It was no sooner known that the parties 
proposed to marry than there was considerable 
trouble made for them. Prior to the Statutes 5 
and 6, William IV., chap. 64, marriages within tlie 
Levitical degree were voidable, not void, and, if not 
invalidated in the lifetime of both parties, held good 
to all intents and purposes. 


But such marriages, though not illegal under these 
circumstances, liad become questional )lc, and in this 
case many persons interfered ; and in tlie newspapers 
of the neighborhood the proposed marriage was 
made the subject of unpleasant remarks, and officious 
friends made the matter worse by replies which kept 
up the ill-feeling and excitement. Miss Sneyd went 
to visit Lady Holte in Cheshire. This lady, who 
was an old friend of the Sneyds, was " a woman of 
much knowledge of the world, and of great firmness 
of character." She had been Miss Elizabeth Sneyd's 
best friend for many years. When the parties met, 
early in December, in the parish church of Scar- 
borough to be married, after being " asked three 
times in the parish," as was then usual, the clergy- 
man "received a letter," says Mr. Edgeworth, " which 
alarmed him so much as to make me think it cruel 
to press him to perform the ceremony. Lady Holte 
took Miss Elizabeth Sneyd to Bath. I went to Lon- 
don with my children, took lodgings in Gray's-Inn 
Lane, and had our banns published in St. Andrew's 
Church, Holborn. Miss Elizabeth Sneyd came from 
Bath, and on Christmas Day, 1780, was married to 
me in St. Andrew's Church, in the presence of my 
first wife's brother, Mr. Elers, his lady, and Mr. 

Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth went immediately to 
Northchurch, where they resided for a few months, 
and then went to London. Sir Joseph Banks, who 
was at this time president of the Royal Society, 
invited Mr. Edgeworth to join that bod}-, which he 
did. He was still a member of the club of which 


John Hunter was president. This club had no 
formal name. The meetings were first held at Jack's 
Coffee-House, and later, Young Slaughter's Coffee- 
House. It numbered among its members many 
distinguished men, — Banks, Blagden, Capt. Cook, 
Maskelyne, Lord Mulgrave, and many others. 

In 1781, shortly after her father's third marriage, 
]\Iaria had an alarming and painful inflammation of 
the eyes. She was taken to one of the first physi- 
cians in London, who hastily pronounced, " She will 
lose her eyesight." Happily this opinion of the 
doctor was not correct. She suffered very much: 
but after a time the inflammation subsided ; and she 
was able, for many long years, to use her eyes freely 
for reading, writing, and all kinds of delicate needle- 
work and fine embroidery. 

After Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth left London, they 
went for the summer to Davenport Hall, which 
the}^ hired of the owner. In this retired place they 
spent some months. At this time they had the 
younger children of Mr. Edgeworth with them. 
The magnificent seat of Sir Charles Holte, Brereton 
Hall, was near this place ; and they passed much 
time very pleasantly with the Holtes at this fine old 
Elizabethan mansion. Meantime, Maria was still at 
the school of Mrs. Davis in London. Some of her 
holidays were spent at the house of Mr. Day. One 
can hardly fancy a greater contrast than that be- 
tween the fashionable establishment in Upper Wim- 
pole Street and the rigid austerity of Mr. Day's 
house. He was, however, kind and just ; and Maria 
received great sympathy and attention from Mr. and 

MR. DAY. 73 

INIrs. Day at tlic time she suffered from the painful 
inflammation in her eyes. " The lofty nature of 
Mr. Day's mind, his romantic character, his meta- 
physical inquiries, and eloquent discussions took 
Maria into another world. The icy strength of 
his system came at the right moment for annealing 
her principles," says one observer. Mr. Day then 
lived at Anningsly, near Chertsey. 

" His mixture of speculative misanthropy and real 
benevolence appeared in all his conduct. Bishop Berke- 
ley's tar-water was still considered as a specific for all 
complaints. Mr. Day thought it would be of use to 
Maria's inflamed eyes, and he used to bring a large 
tumblerful of it to her every morning. She dreaded 
his, ' Now, Miss Maria, drink this ! ' but there was, in 
spite of his stern voice, something of pity and sympathy 
in his countenance which always induced her to swallow 
it. His excellent library was open to her, and he directed 
her studies. His severe reasoning and uncompromising 
truth of mind awakened all her powers ; and the questions 
he put to her, and the working out of the answers, the 
necessity of perfect accuracy in all her words, suited the 
natural truth of her mind ; and, though such strictness 
was not always agreeable, she even then perceived its 
advantage, and in after-life was grateful for it." 

Years after this, Maria said, in describing Mr. 
Day's peculiarities, " He ahvays talked like a book, 
and I do believe he always thought in the same full- 
dress style." M. Dumont, in writing his friend 
Romilly, after he had read " Sandford and Merton " 
for the second time, said he found " a good deal of 
cleverness, of talent, of the developing ideas, of pre- 


paring them, and of introducing them into the minds 
of children." Undoubtedly this was just what Mr. 
Day could do and did for Maria Edgeworth at a 
certain period of mental growth. 

By degrees her eyes recovered their strength, and 
the painful inflammation subsided; but it is not cer- 
tain whether the tar-water, or the country air of 
Anningsly, effected the cure. Maria's health was 
always delicate, and intense headaches often troubled 
her. She was never equal to protracted bodily ex- 
ertion, but enjoyed short walks, and in youth rode 
on horseback, when she had the protection of her 
father, being rather a timid horsewoman. 

Mr. Edgeworth left traces of his mechanical inge- 
nuity during his residence at Brereton, in the steeple 
clock which he amused himself with making and 
putting into place. 

In 1782 Maria was taken from school, and accom- 
panied her parents and younger brothers and sisters 
to Edgeworthstown. Her first visit to Ireland was 
made at an exceedingly early age. This was practi- 
cally her real introduction to the scenes of her future 
life, the home of her fathers. She was at the age 
when one is apt to notice new objects and people 
with keen interest ; and her new mode of life among 
the Irish quickened all her thoughts, and roused her 
eager and animated nature. She was very much 
struck by the many and extraordinary sights she 
saw, — the remarkable difference between the Irish 
and English character. The wit, the melancholy, 
and gayety of the Irish were all so new and strange 
to the young girl, accustomed to the stolid and un- 


varying manners of the English servants, and tlio 
reserve and silence of the upper classes, that the 
penetrating genius and powers of observation of 
the future novelist and delineator of Irish character 
were vividly impressed with her new surroundings. 
Mr. Edgeworth wrote of their return, — 

" In the year 1782 I returned to Ireland with a firm de- 
termination to dedicate the remainder of my life to the 
improvement of my estate, and to the education of ray 
children, and, further, with the sincere hope of contribut- 
ing to the melioration of the inhabitants of the country 
from which I drew my subsistence." 

Of this event Maria wrote in 1819, — 

" Though such a length of time has elapsed, I have re- 
tained a clear and strong recollection of our arrival at 
Edgeworthstowu. ' ' 

Then she continues, — 

" Things and persons are so much improved in Ireland 
of latter days, that only those who can remember how 
they were some fifty or sixty years ago can conceive the 
variety of domestic grievances which in those times as- 
sailed the master of a family, immediately upon his arri- 
val at his Irish home. Wherever he turned his eyes, in 
or out of his house, damp, dilapidation, waste, appeared. 
Painting, glazing, roofing, fencing, finishing, — all were 
wanting. The back yard, and even the front lawn round 
the windows of the house, were filled with loungers, fol- 
lowers, and petitioners : tenants, under-tenants, drivers, 
sub-agent, and agent were to have audience ; and they 
all had grievances and secret informations, accusations, 
reciprocations, and quarrels, each under each, interminable. 


Alternately as landlord and magistrate, the proprietor of 
an estate bad to listen to perpetual complaints, petty 
wrauglings and equivocations, in which no human sagacity 
could discover truth or award justice. Then came widows 
and orphans with tales of distress, and cases of oppres- 
sion, such as the ear and heart of uuhardened humanity 
could not withstand ; and, when some of the supplicants 
were satisfied, fresh expectants appeared with claims of 
promises and hopes, beyond what any patience, time, 
power, or fortune could satisfy. Such and so great the 
difficulties appeared to me by which my father was en- 
compassed on our arrival home, that I could not conceive 
how he could get through them, nor could I imagine how 
these people had ever gone on during his absence. I was 
with him constantly ; and I was amused and interested and 
instructed by seeing how he made his way through these 
complaints, petitions, and grievances, with decision and 
despatch : he, all the time, in good humor with the people, 
and they delighted with him ; though he often ' rated 
them roundly,' when they stood before him perverse in 
litigation, helpless in procrastination, detected of cunning, 
or convicted of falsehood. They saw into his character 
almost as soon as he understood theirs. The first remark 
which I heard whispered aside among the people, with 
congratulatory looks at each other, was, ' His honor, any 
way, is good pay.' It was said of the celebrated king of 
Prussia, that ' he scolded like a trooper, and paid like a 
prince.' Such a man would be liked in Ireland." 

Modern history has hardly borne out the truth of 
that saying of Frederick the Great, and we must 
fancy it of some other royal i-)ersonage ; but here 
the Italian saying is true, "si non e vero, il e ben 


This long passage shows some of the difficulties 
felt by a new-comer at that day in Ireland, but I 
have quoted it more to show the way in which Mr. 
Edsreworth began at once to initiate Maria into busi- 
ness and business ways. Where most men would 
have felt a young girl should not be, the eccentric 
father felt he was teaching her some valuable lessons. 
She early began to keep all his accounts, and contin- 
ued to act as his agent for many years. Another 
noticeable feature of this introduction into active life 
is, that it gave her great insight into the characters 
and ways of the Irish. 

It is doubtful whether " Castle Rackrent " and her 
other imitable sketches of Irish life could have been 
written without this daily observation and study of 
the peculiarities of the people. They are studies 
from life, and that makes their merit. 

Many years after this time, when INIaria was de- 
scribing some of her methods of working to a gentle- 
man who asked her how she planned her novels, she 
spoke of seeing among other strange characters, the 
" King of Connemara," — first known by that and 
another cognomen, " Hairtrigger Dick," — Richard 
Martin, a noted land-owner of Connemara, who 
fought more duels than any man of his day there- 
abouts ; and, when he brought a bill into Parliament 
for preventing cruelty to animals, his nickname was 
changed to " Humanity Martin." 

She took some of this man's imperious waj^s and 
strange eccentricities to build King Corny on, in the 
story of " Ormond." She says of this man, that he 
was a contemporary of her father's ; and " too, besides, 


I once saw him, and remember my blood crept slow, 
and my breath was held, when he first came into the 
room ; " and, though he was " a pale little insignifi- 
cant-looking mortal," the strange stories her father 
had told her of him stirred her fertile imagination. 
She says in another place, that she saw the original 
of " Tliady^'' in " Castle Rackrent," when she first 
came to Ireland ; and later on we shall see how the 
old man's ways and character struck her, and the 
story all came into her mind. 

Mr. Edgeworth began his improvements at home, 
where they were much needed. Maria says of the 
house at Edgeworthstown when they arrived there, 
that, on her father's visit with Mrs. Honora Edge- 
worth, it " was a tolerably good, old-fashioned man- 
sion ; but when he returned to it now with seven 
children, and considered it with a view to its being 
the residence of a large family, he felt its many in- 
conveniences. It had been built in my grandfather's 
time, in a bad situation, for the sake of preserving 
one chimney that had remained of the former edifice. 
To this old chimney the new house was sacrificed, 
— to this, and to the fancy, formerly fashionable, of 
seeing through a number of doors a suite of apart- 
ments. To gratify this fancy, it was made a slice 
of a house, all front, with rooms opening into each 
other through its whole length, without any inter- 
vention of passage ; all the rooms small and gloomy, 
with dark wainscots, heavy cornices, little windows, 
corner chimneys, and a staircase taking up half 
the house, to the destruction of the upper story. 
In short, a more hopeless case for an architect, 


and for a master of a large family, could scarcely 

Time and prudence, however, with the mechanical 
taste of Mr. Edgeworth, made things gradually right ; 
and in the course of a few j^ears, by doing something 
each year, Edge worths town house was as commo- 
dious and pleasant a home as the heart could desire. 
The grounds and gardens also needed attention ; and 
"the very day of INIr. Edgeworth's arrival he set to 
work, and continued perseveringly, fencing, draining, 
levelling, planting ; though he knew that all he was 
doing could not show for years." 

In this careful way of never going on too fast for 
his income, Mr. Edgeworth gave himself plenty to 
do, and yet escaped the errors of many of the Irish 
gentry, who either built superb mansions which in- 
volved them in debt and distress, or planned a 
" palace, built offices to suit, then turned stable and 
coach-house into their dwelling-house," " leaving the 
rest to fate and to their sons." Mr. Edg^eworth 
became his own agent, with Maria's help, and had 
no dealings with middlemen^ always the curse of 
Ireland. He was a very just landlord, and abolished 
many oppressive restrictions. He was one of the 
first Irish landlords to give up the " petty, oppressive 
claims of duty-work." He always left a year's rent 
in his tenant's hands ; this being more than the hang- 
ing gate of six months, which many landlords would 
not even allow. In his selection of tenants he made 
no distinction as to religion or nationality, between 
Catholic or Protestant, or Celt and Saxon. 

Maria wrote of his management, — 


"As soon as my father returned to Edgeworthstown, 
he began to receive his rents without the intervention of 
asent or sub-a^ent. On most Irisli estates there is, or 
there was, a sort of personage commonly called a driver^ 
— a person who drives and impounds cattle for rent and 
arrears. Such persons, being often ill chosen, and of the 
lowest habits, as well as of the lowest order, misuse their 
authority ; and frequently, unfaithful to the landlord, as 
well as harassing to the tenant, sell the interest of their 
employer for glasses of whiskey ; and finish by running 
away with money, which they have received on account^ or 
by extortion from tenants. These drivers are, alas ! from 
time to time too necessary in collecting Irish rents. My 
father rendered this petty tyrant's authority as brief as 
possible. ' Go before Mr. Edgeworth, and you will surely 
get justice,' was the saying of the neighborhood. Besides 
relying on his justice, they felt with all the warmth of their 
warm hearts his eagerness to exert himself in the cause 
of the injured or oppressed. The Irish ai-e more attached 
by what touches their hearts than by what concerns their 
interests ; and those who find their way to their hearts 
have the best chance — I might say those only have any 
chance — of so far getting at their heads as to make 
them understand their true interests, or to cure them of 
any of their faults or bad habits." 

Miss Edgeworth herself says of the manner m 
which she must have acquired much business knowl- 
edge, besides storing materials, as it has been said, 
for her studies of Irish life and character, — 

" Some men live with their families without letting them 
know their affairs, and, however great may be their affec- 
tion and esteem for their wives and children, think that 
they have nothing to do with business. This was not my 


father's way of thinking. On the contrary, not only his 
wife, but his children, knew all his affairs. Whatever 
business he had to do was done in the midst of his family, 
usually in the common sitting-room : so that we were inti- 
mately acquainted, not only with his general principles of 
conduct, but with the minute details of their every-day 
application. I further enjoyed some peculiar advantages : 
he kindly wished to give me habits of business ; and for 
this purpose allowed me, during many years, to assist him 
in copying his letters of business, and in receiving his 

This apparently tedious and drudging occupation 
Maria always declared she enjoyed, as a change from 
other work, and she showed great acuteness and 
aptitude for it. Years after, she took upon herself 
the management of her brother Lovell's affairs during 
a period of distress for Irish landlords, and under 
her management brought order out of chaos. 

In the year 1782 Mr. Edgeworth proposed to 
Maria, after they were domesticated in their home, 
to prepare a translation of Mme. de Genlis's " Adele 
et Theodore." He merely proposed it as a useful 
occupation for her leisure hours of study. But, 
after she had made some progress in in it, they 
thought of publishing it ; and in December, her 
father wrote her from Dublin, with the corrections 
of her manuscripts. She had completed one volume 
when Holcroft's translation appeared. Neither she 
nor her father regretted the time spent on this vol- 
ume, as it gave her ready choice of words, and that 
excellent practice in writing which translation or 
abstract from others' work always affords the young. 


Mr. Day, who had a horror of female authors and 
their writings, was highly disgusted at Maria's having 
even translated a work on education from the French, 
and wrote to congratulate Mr. Edgeworth when the 
publication was prevented. It was from the recol- 
lection of his arguments against women's writing, 
and of her father's answer, Miss Edgeworth states, 
that " Letters for Literary Ladies " were written, 
nearly ten years after. 

" They were not published, nor was any thing of ours 
published, till some time after Mr. Day's death (in 1789). 
Though sensible that there was much prejudice mixed up 
with his reasons, yet deference for his frieud's judgment 
prevailed with my father, and made him dread for his 
daughter the name of authoress." 

Maria Avrote much during this time. Essays, 
plays, and little stories occupied her leisure. 

At this time those who knew Maria best say she 
" was reserved in manner, and little inclined to con- 
verse. To those who knew her in after-years, with 
all her brilliant wit, in the company of the first-rate 
talkers of French and English society, and her 
never-failing cheerfulness and flow of conversation 
at home, this unwillingness to speak seems incredible. 
She was, however, then in weak health, and felt 
great powers which were unvalued by the young 
and gay of ordinary society. She knew that her 
father appreciated these powers, and she was con- 
tented with his approbation. She had been taken 
notice of by his friend Lady Holte, while in England, 
and thus early learned to admire high-bred manners 


and high principles formed with knowledge of the 

Maria writes of this period of her life, "As to 
society, we had at this time but little, except with 
Lord Granard's family at Castle Forbes, and with 
the Pakenhams at Pakenham Hall, the residence of 
Lord Longford. The connection and friendship 
which had long subsisted between the Pakenham 
family and ours," was mentioned, she says, by Mr. 
Edgeworth in his narrative. Had he continued that 
memoir after his return to Ireland, he would have 
spoken of the strong " regard he felt for Admiral 
Lord Longford," whose son (the inheritor of the 
title) was then living at home with his family, after 
the termination of the French and American war. 
Lady Longford, the wife of this earl, was a charm- 
ing woman. And the Dowager Lady Longford was 
a woman of unusual vigor of mind, " a woman of 
great wit, and for her day of extraordinary knowl- 
edge and literature." She was the lady, who, in 
early years, inspired Mr. Edgeworth with a love of 
books, and drew his mind from an inordinate love 
of field-sports. 

Lord Longford was one of her father's dearest 
friends, — a man of unusual ability, with a frank- 
ness and charm of manner which was most attrac- 
tive. Lady Longford was a woman of romantic, 
enthusiastic nature ; and among the children of this 
family was the future Duchess of Wellington, known 
to all her relatives as "Kitty Pakenham," and "Ad- 
miral Pakenham, with his inexhaustible wit and 
generous friendship, who, in his careless dress and 


jovial manners, still looked and was every inch a 
gentleman, — these were all, not merely figures mov- 
ing before Maria, as in the raree show of London 
society, but understood in the intimacy of domestic 
life : so that, thougli her girlhood was passed with- 
out ever being in what is called the ' world,' her 
ideas were gradually expanding, and her insight 
into character constantly increasing." 

Pakenham Hall was a delightful home to visit at ; 
and there she met Mrs. Greville, — the mother of 
Lady Crewe, and author of the ode to "Lidiffer- 
ence," — and many people distinguished in the world 
of politics and literature. 

Maria writes, — 

"But Pakenham Hall was twelve miles distant from 
us, in the adjoining county of Westmeath. There was 
a vast Serboniau bog between us ; with a bad road, an 
awkward fence, and a country so frightful, and so over- 
run with yellow- weeds, that it was aptly called by Mrs. 
Greville ' the Yellow Dwarf's country.' 

" Castle Forbes, the residence of the Earl of Granard, 
was more within our reach than Pakenham Hall. There 
the society was various and very agreeable, especially 
when Lady Granard' s mother (the late Lady Moira) 
was in the country. Lady Moira was a personage 
of great influence in Ireland : she held somewhat of 
a court at Moira House, Dublin, which was the resort 
of the witty and the wise of the day; and this lady, 
who was the daughter of Lady Huntingdon (the friend 
of Wesley and "Whitcfield ) , had seen a strange sort 
of society, and learned much not usual in people of her 


Maria was so happy as to attract the attention 
and approval of tliis lady ; and her conversation was 
very beneficial to her, for she talked with the sliy 
young girl "as one who could understaiid her." 
She says of her, — 

" Lady IMoira's taste for literature, general knowledge, 
and great conversational talents, drew round her culti- 
vated and distinguished persons ; but it was her noble, 
high-spirited character which struck my father still more 
than her acquirements and abilities. 

"He was gratified by the manner in wliich she first 
encouraged and distinguished his daughter, and grateful 
for the friendship with which Lady Moira honored her 
ever after." 

Mr. Edgeworth was very fond of an argument; 
and once, when he and Lady Moira had had a long 
argument on genius and education, Lord Granard 
ended it wittily by saying, " A pig may be made to 
whistle, but he has a bad mouth for it." Maria 
says, — 

" In our more immediate neighborhood, we at this time 
commenced an acquaintance with a friendly and cultivated 
family of the name of Brooke. The father, an old, well- 
informed clergyman, was nearly related to the Mr. Brooke 
who wrote the celebrated novel of ' The Fool of Quality,' 
and the tragedy of ' Gustavus Vasa.' . . . 

" Considering the state of society in Ireland at the 
time of which I am now writing, my father may be 
esteemed fortunate in finding in a remote place such 
acquaintance. In general, formal, large dinners and long 
sittings were the order of the day and night. The fash- 


ion for literature had not commenced, and people rather 
shunned than courted the acquaintance of those who were 
suspected to have literary taste or talents." 

Mr. Edgeworth was an excellent horseman, and 
always said "he could think, invent, and compose 
better on horseback than anywhere else : " and for 
many years Maria enjoyed her rides with her father; 
for his perfect control of his own horse gave her 
ease and confidence, and many pleasant hours were 
passed in the saddle. 

In the year 1789 Mr. Day's sudden death deprived 
Mr. Edgeworth and Maria of a warm friend. He 
was her father's earliest friend ; and, though full of 
foibles and eccentricities, he had a fine mind and re- 
markable powers. " There could be no second Mr. 
Day " for them. His loss was irreparable, and his 
place in their regard and esteem was never filled. 

Mr. Day had left his library and his mathematical 
instruments to Mr. Edgeworth by his last will ; but 
at his death this will could not be found, and an 
earlier one of 1780, which did not name Mr. Edge- 
worth, was the only one which appeared extant. 
Mrs. Day, who valued the friendship of Mr. Edge- 
worth, and said of him, that she considered him " the 
most purely disinterested and proudly independent 
of Mr. Day's friends," offered him the opportunity 
of naming any legacy her husband might have men- 
tioned to him. He only asked, and received, some 
old mathematical instruments endeared to him by 
associations with his friend. 

Mr. Day, it will perhaps be remembered, lost his 
life in attempting to train a young colt. As he did 

MR. day's death. 87 

not approve of the usual rough method of '■^hreaJcincj'' 
horses, he undertook to manage this colt in a differ- 
ent way. The animal, becoming startled, plunged 
and threw him. " lie had a concussion of the bruin, 
never spoke after his fall, and in less than quarter 
of an hour expired ! " Mrs. Day, who survived her 
husband onl}^ two years, was so inconsolable that 
she took to her bed ; where she remained much of 
the time, in spite of a most philosophical letter from 
Mr. Edgeworth, who argued out a case from his own 
standpoint, and naturally fancied others of as an 
elastic a temperament as his own. 
Maria said of Mr. Day, — 

"It is remarkable that Mr. Day's fame with posterity 
will probably rest solely upon those works which he con- 
sidered as most perishable. He valued, in preference to 
his other writings, certain political tracts ; but these, 
though finely written, full of manly spirit and classic elo- 
quence, have passed away, and are heard of no more. 
While his history of ' Sandford and Merton,' and even 
the tiny story of 'Little Jack,' are still popular. 'For 
the same reason, because true to nature and to genuine 
feeling, his poem of "The Dying Negro " will last as long 
as manly and benevolent hearts exist in England.' " 

Miss Seward says that " The Dying Negro" was 
the first article in prose or verse on the wrongs of 
the negro. She notes this, because Cowper claims in 
a letter to be the first poet who " publicly stigma- 
tized our slave-trade." Mr. Day's poem appeared in 
1770, years before Cowper published at all ; and it 
was generally read and admired. In Miss Seward's 


panegyric of Mr. Dewes, she wrote in 1793 to Miss 
Powys, "lie had the bestowing spirit of Mr. Day, 
without its acrimony; the politeness of Mr. Edge- 
worth, without his insincerity." 

In Leigh Hunt's autobiography he says, — 

' ' The pool of mercenary and time-serving ethics was 
first lilown over by the fresh country breeze of Mr. Day's 
' Sandford and Merton,' — a production which I well re- 
member and shall ever be grateful to." 

A new blow was approaching Mr. Edgeworth. 
Mrs. Honora Edgeworth left one daughter, at this 
time a lovely girl of about fifteen. This young girl 
inherited her mother's rare beauty, intelligence, and 
delicacy of constitution. Her health began to fail 
very rapidly. Her father wrote to Mrs. Day after 
her husband's death, — 

"The loss of my best friend must be followed by the 
loss of my most excellent daughter Honora. Her ripened 
beauty, her cheerful, serene temper, uncommon under- 
standing, all the hopes of her family, — by all of whom she 
is admired and adored, — the expectations of all who have 
ever seen her, must now be blasted. The hand of heredi- 
tary disease is upon her, which must soon be inevitably 
followed by the hand of death. With the same fortitude 
which her incomparable mother possessed, she bears the 
present, and prepares for the future." 

She died in February, 1790. One observer said 
she was " dazzling " in beauty. Dr. Darwin, in writ- 
ing Mr. Edgeworth after her death, alludes as fol- 
lows to Honora : — 


" I srccn condole with you on your late loss. I know 
how to feel for your misfortune. The little tale you sent 
me is a prodigy, written by so young a pereon, with such 
elegance of imagination." 

Tliis tale of which he speaks was " Riviiletta," a 
fairy story written by Honora ; and the reader will 
find it printed in " Early Lessons," by Maria. Anna 
Seward thanks Mrs. Powys for this tale, asks if " it 
be a translation or no, as it says at the end, ' Extract 
from Lavater.' " 

After the death of Honora, Mr. Edgeworth went 
to Black Castle to visit his sister, Mrs. Ruxton, who 
was endeared to him by all the associations of early 
youth, and her own charms of disposition. Mr. Rux- 
ton had rather a grave and reserved manner, but a 
warm heart and a keen enjoyment of humor. He 
delighted in Maria's company. Several of their 
children died young : Richard, Sophy, and Margaret 
were Maria's life-long friends. Black Castle was 
within a few hours' drive of Edgeworthstown, and a 
visit to her aunt was one of Maria's great pleasures. 
Mrs. Ruxton was a woman of wit and vivacity and 
strong affections. Her grace and charm of manner 
were such that a gentleman once said of her, " If I 
were to see Mrs. Ruxton sitting in rags on the door- 
step, I should say ' Madam ' to her." 



Maria's Method of Work. — She joins her Father and Mother in 
England. — Life at Clifton. — Dr. Darwin. — Mr. Edgeworth 
meets old Friends. — Maria visits Friends. —Dr. Beddoes. — 
Return to Ireland. — Disturbances in Ireland. — The "Freeman 
Family." — " Letters for Literary Ladies." — "Practical Educa- 
tion." — Continued Disturbances. — "Parent's Assistant." — At 
Work on "Practical Education." — " Moral Tales." —Death of 
Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth. — Friendship formed with the Beau- 
fort Family. — Mr. Edgeworth marries Miss Beaufort. 

In January, 1791, Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth went 
to England, leaving Maria in charge of the house 
and the children. 

The first story Maria wrote after that on " Gener- 
osity," was " The Bracelets : " some of the tales now 
in " Parent's Assistant " followed. " Dog Trusty," 
and " Tlie Honest Boy and the Thief," were written 
at this time. She was in the habit of writing them 
out on a slate, and reading them to her sisters : if 
they approved, she copied them. At the period we 
are considering, she was twenty-four years old, but 
rather timid and doubtful of her powers. Her writ- 
ing for children was the natural outgrowth of a 
practical study of their wants and fancies ; and her 
constant care of the younger children gave her ex- 
actly the opportunity required to observe the devel- 
opment of mind incident to the age and capacity 
of several little brothers and sisters. 

Maria's writing. 91 

She herself says of her manner of writing her 
stories, — 

" Whenever I tliought of writing any thing, I always 
told my father my first rough phms ; and always, with the 
instinct of a good critic, he used to fix immediately upon 
that which would best answer the purpose. ' ASletch that 
and show it to me.' Those words, from the experience 
of his sagacity, never failed to inspire me with hope 
of success. It was then sketched. Sometimes, when I 
was fond of a particular part, I used to dilate on it in 
the sketch ; but to this he alwaj's objected. ' I don't 
want any of 3-our painting — none of 3'our drapery : I 
can imagine all that ; let me see the bare skeleton.' " 

She says, "Though publication was out of our 
thouglits, as subjects occurred, many essays and tales 
were written for private amusement." For several 
years Maria wrote in this way for the amusement 
and use of the family. Her father "would some- 
times advise me," she adds, " to lay by what was 
done for several months, and turn my mind to some- 
thing else, that we might look back at it afterwards 
with fresh eyes." 

It would be well if all writers could restrain their 
pen if they did not blot, — which Pope calls "the 
last and greatest art," — waiting till time should 
ripen their powers, and not do as so many modern 
authors are in the habit of doing, — furnish the pub- 
lic with a book a year. Want has too often kept 
an over-worked brain grinding out literary produc- 
tions which constantly lower the author's reputation. 
We recognize this fact in modern times by the infe- 
riority of average novelists' later works. A first 


book is by no means the certain harbinger of a new 
series. It may be the only story worthy of reading 
which its writer will produce. The public has ruined 
many of its story-tellers by urging them to write too 
much for their own fame and the reader's advantage. 
Maria made a visit to Black Castle while her 
father and mother were at Clifton. She left the 
family in charge of a friend of the Sneyds who 
was at Edgeworthstown, — Mrs. Mary Powys. Tliis 
lady was a devoted friend of Mrs. Honora Edge- 
worth; and to her she addressed the last note she 
wrote, in which she says Mr. Edge worth — 

" Like a kind angel whispers peace, 
And smooths the bed of death." 

After Maria's return home, her father sent for her 
to join him at Clifton, bringing the younger children. 
She travelled with four girls, two boys, and servants 
from Edgeworthstown to England. This rather 
large party of little people arrived in safety at Clif- 
ton. The landlady at one inn on the way, seeing 
so many nurses and little people get out of the 
carriage, and the quantity of baggage, exclaimed, 
" Haven't you brought the kitchen-grate too ? " When 
they reached their destination, a package of guineas 
placed in one of the trunks was found to be light, 
and the friction had left a little heap of gold-dust. 
In 1787, when Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth was recov- 
ering from an illness, Mr. Edgeworth used to amuse 
the assembled family, by telling a story of the Free- 
man family. The next day IMaria wrote down from 
memory what he had told them the previous night. 


At Clifton he continued this story. In the course 
of time she again worked on this; and, with many- 
alterations and additions, it became what is known 
as " Patronage." 

The health of one of Mr. Edgeworth's sons kept 
the family at Clifton for quite a time. Tliey lived 
there nearly two years. Maria says of her father 
this time, — 

' ' This was the first time I had ever been with him 
away from home. lu what is called the icorkl, he was a 
most entertaining guide and companion. His observations 
upon characters, as they revealed themselves by slight cir- 
cumstances, were amusing and just. He was a good 
judge of manners, and of all that related to appearance, 
both in men and women. ... He did not like these 
two-years' residence at Clifton. The mode of life at a 
water-drinking place was not suited to him." 

The eldest son of Mr. Edgeworth, who had left 
the navy, and settled in North Carolina, where he 
had married, made his family a visit during their 
sta}' at Clifton. Maria was very fond of him, though 
they had never seen much of each other. After his 
return to America she wrote regretting it. 

The family renewed their old intimacies, and saw 
their friends in England easily, as Clifton was access- 
ible. Maria saw many of her father's old friends 
during their residence in England. In one letter she 
writes, with evident pride and pleasure, that Dr. Dar- 
win " has paid Lovell [her brother] a very handsome 
compliment in his lines on the Barberini Vase, in the 
first part of ' The Botanic Garden ' which my father 
has just got." These are the lines : — 


" The warrior Liberty, with bending sails, 
Helmed his bold course to fair Ilibernia's vales ; 
Firm as he steps along the shouting lands, 
Lo ! Truth and Virtue range their radiant bands ; 
Sad Superstition wails her empire torn. 
Art plies his oar, and Commerce pours her horn." 

In the footnotes to the same work, there is one 
describincT a,n ingenious little automaton made out 
of soft fir-wood by Mr. Edgeworth : by means of its 
contraction and expansion, changes in the weather 
could be calculated. When " The Botanic Garden " 
came out, Mr. Edgeworth wrote to Dr. Darwin, — 

" To have my name in a note to your work is, in my 
opinion, to have it immortal ; and, as Mrs. Edgeworth 

says, — 

* If it's allowed to poets to divine, 
One-half of round eternity is mine.' " 

Mr. Edgeworth did not consider Dr. Darwin's idea 
of poetry a correct one, — that it should be word- 
painting ; but, when he found that he could not 
influence him as to his theory of writing, he proposed 
subjects to him which he thought could be treated 
by him in the manner he preferred. He urged Dr. 
Darwin to write a " Cabinet of Gems." Edgeworth 
wrote him that Maria said, " The manner in which 
you mention your friends in your poem shows as 
much generosity as your subjects show genius." 
Maria admired Dr. Darwin very much. She calls 
him " the common friend of genius and goodness, 
which he had the happy talent of discovering, 
attracting, and attaching." She mentions one of 


his sayings : " A fool you know, ]\Ir. Edgewortli, is a 
man who never tried an experiment in his life." 

Dr. Darwin liad, some years earlier (in 1781), 
"married a young, rich, and lovely widow,^ who 
allured him to quit Lichfield, and settle at Derby." 
Mr. Edge worth visited Dr. Darwin during his stay 
at Clifton. Maria wrote of one occasion : — 

"My father has just returned from Dr. Darwin's, 
where he has been for nearly three weeks. They were 
extremely kind, and pressed him very much to take a 
house in or near Derby for the summer. He has been, as 
Dr. Darwin expresses it, ' breathing the breath of life 
into the brazen lungs of a clock,' which he had made at 
Edgeworthstown as a present for him. He saw the first 
part of Dr. Darwin's ' Botanic Garden : ' nine hundred 
pounds was what his bookseller gave him for the whole ! 
On his return from Derby, my father spout a day with 
Mr. Keir, the great chemist, at Birmingham. He was 
speaking to him of the late discovery of fulminating sil- 
ver, with which I suppose your ladyship is well acquainted, 
though it be new to Henry and me. A lady and gentle- 
man went into a laboratory where a few grains of fulmi- 
nating silver were lying in a mortar. The gentleman, as 
he was talking, happened to stir it with the end of his 
cane, which was tipped with iron. The fulminating silver 
exploded instantly, and blew the lady, the gentleman, and 
the whole laboratory to pieces ! Take care how you go 
into laboratories with gentlemen, unless they are like Sir 
Plume, skilled in the ' nice conduct ' of their canes." 

" Sir Plume, of amber snuff-box justly vain, 
And the nice conduct of a clouded caue." 

1 ilrs. Pole of Eedburn. 


In another letter written about this time, Maria 
speaks of the " ' Romance of the Forest.' It has 
been the fashionable novel here, everybody read and 
talked of it. We were much interested in some 
parts of it. It is something in the style of the 
' Castle of Otranto ; ' and the horrible parts we 
thought well worked up ; but it is very difficult 
to keep horror, breathless, with his mouth open, 
through three volumes." 

Mr. Edgeworth renewed his early intimacy with 
Watts, Keir of Birmingham, the biographer of Mr. 
Day, and Wedgwood of Etruria. Besides seeing his 
old friends whom he visited, he went often to Lon- 
don, and saw his scientific friends there. Dr. Dar- 
win at this time made him acquainted with " the in- 
genious, indefatigable, and benevolent Mr. William 
Strutt of Derby," at whose house the family often 
enjoyed much hospitality when they visited England. 
While he was making new friends, his attention was 
called to the sudden illness of Lord Longford ; but, be- 
fore he could return to Ireland to see him, news came 
that he was no more. He was a great loss to him. 

Maria made a very pleasant visit to a former 
school friend, Mrs. Charles Hoare (Miss Robinson), 
in October, 1792. She had been a correspondent of 
hers, and she enjoyed much seeing her again at her 
pleasant home in Roehampton. Mrs. Hoare had 
travelled much, and Maria listened with interest to 
her description of foreign scenes. She wrote to her 
cousin, Miss Sophy Ruxton, of this visit, that she 
had notes half rubbed out in her pocket-book, " So- 
phy, slave-ship ; Sophy, rope-walk ; Sophy, marine 


acid ; Sophy, earthquake ; Sophy, glass house," — 
all these items of information being intended for her 
cousin's benefit, when next they met. Mrs. Iloare's 
descriptions of Lisbon and the sands of the Tagus, 
etc., had furnished Maria with much food for 
thought. A visit to London was made from Roe- 
hampton, and thence she went to visit Mrs. Powys. 
In July, 1793, Anna Edgeworth was engaged to Dr. 
Thomas Beddoes. Maria was much interested in 
this engagement. Anna was her youngest own sis- 
ter. She says, — 

"While we resided at Clifton we became acquainted 
with the celebrated Dr. Beddoes,^ and it is remarkable 
that this acquaintance was in consequence of the doctor's 
great admiration for the character of Mr. Day. This had 
induced Dr. Beddoes to seek the acquaintance of Mrs. 
Day and of her friend Mr. Keir. When Dr. Beddoes 
came to Clifton, with the view of settling as a physician, 
Mr. Koir gave him a letter of introduction to my father, 
who was, I believe, his first acquaintance there. My 
father admired his al)ilities, was eager to cultivate his 
society ; and, this intimacy continuing some mouths, he 
had opportunities of assisting in establishing the doctor 
at Clifton. In the autumn of 1793 we heard that dis- 
turbances were beginning to break out in Ireland, and my 
father thought it his duty to return there immediately. 
Our preparations for leaving Clifton seemed particularly 
to grieve and alarm Dr. Beddoes. During the summer's 
acquaintance with our family, he had become strongly 
attached to one of my sisters, — Anna. He had permis- 
sion to follow her in the spring ; and they were mar- 
ried at Edgeworthstown, on the 17th of April, 1794." 
1 Thomas Beddoes, distinguished physician and chemist, 17G0-1808. 


In writing to a friend of her sister Anna's de- 
parture, Maria tells the following anecdote : — 

" Anna was extremely sorry that she could not see you 
again before she left Ireland : but j^ou will soon be in the 
same kingdom again ; and that is one great point gained, 
as Mr. Weaver, a travelling astronomical lecturer who 
carried the universe about in a box, told us. 'Sir,' 
said he to my father, ' when you look at a map, do j^ou 
know that the east is always on your right hand, and the 
west on your left?' — 'Yes,' replied my father, with a 
very modest look, 'I believe I do.' — 'Well,' said the 
man of learning, ' that's one great point gained.' " 

November, 1793, found the Edgeworths again at 
their home in Ireland ; and Maria wrote about this 
time, " I am scratching away very hard at the ' Free- 
man Family '('Patronage ')." 

The disturbances in Ireland, which hastened Mr. 
Edge worth's return in 1793, " did not at first appear 
formidable," says Maria : " though we were occasion- 
ally alarmed by reports of outrages committed by 
Heart-of-oak Boys and Defenders in distant counties ; 
and though in our own there were some nightly 
marauders, yet, upon the whole, our neighborhood 
continued tolerably quiet." Rumors of a French 
invasion continued to stir up disaffection and en- 
courage these people. But after a time affairs 
became more settled, and the arts of peace flour- 
ished at Edgeworthstown ; though the services of 
]\Ir. Edgeworth as justice were in active requisition 
for seeking, apprehending, and convicting these vil- 
lains and the bands of wretches who wandered round 
marauding and destroying property and life. 


At this time Mr. Edge worth offered his system 
of telegraphing to the goverunieiit. He spent some 
five hundred pounds upon it at his own expense. 
Lovell Edgeworth, by the request of Mr. Pelham, 
brother of the Duke of Newcastle, carried the model 
to London ; but the government declined to avail 
itself of this ingenious invention. In January of 
1794, William, the last child of Mrs. Elizabeth Edge- 
worth, was born. Mrs. Edgeworth was in very fee- 
ble health for some years before her death. 

Maria was very busy at this period with several 
literary works. She wrote, about this time, of her 
" Letters for Literary Ladies," and says she is sorry 
that " they are not as well as can be expected, nor 
are they likely to mend at present. They are now 
disfigured by all manner of crooked marks of papa's 
critical indignation, besides various abusive marginal 
notes, which I would not have you see for half a 
crown sterling." She wrote in the same year to her 
aunt: "You are very good to wish for 'Toys and 
Tasks,' but I think it would be most unreasonable 
to send them to you now." " Toys and Tasks" was 
the title of one of the chapters in " Practical Edu- 
cation," which Maria had then begun to work upon. 

"Practical Education" was suggested to Mr. Edge- 
worth by Dr. Darwin; for he wrote the doctor, in 
December, 1794, as follows : — 

" Edgeworthstown, Dec. 18, 1794. 
. . . " In one of your letters some time ago, you advised 
us to read Dugald Stewart,^ and to write upon education. 

1 DugaUl Stewart, professor of moral i)liiIosophy iu the Uuiversity 
of Edinburgh. 175S-1828. 


Stewart we have read with great profit and pleasure, and 
we are writing upon education. Maria recurs frequently 
to your authority in a chapter on ' Attention,' and has, 
I think (pardon my paternal partialit}') , managed your 
gigantic weapons with as much adroitness as could be 
expected from a dwarf. Your new terms in Zoonomia 
require to be mouthed frequentl}' to make them famil- 
iar ; and in conversation we sometimes forget our gram- 
mar. She would write to ask you some questions if she 
dared." . . . 

Maria wrote about this time of the occupations of 
the family : — 

" There is a balloon hanging up, and another going to 
be put upon the stocks ; there is soap made and making 
from a receipt in Nicholson's Chemistry ; there is excel- 
lent ink made and to be made by the same book ; there is 
a cake of roses just squeezed in a vise by my father, ac- 
cording to the advice of Mme. de Lagaraye, the woman in 
black cloak and ruffles, who weighs with unwearied scales, 
in the frontispiece of a book, which perhaps my aunt re- 
members, entitled ' Chemie de Gout, et de I'Odorat.' " 

A truly extraordinary catalogue of employments, 
and i\Iaria miglit have well put some of the books in 
preparation into her list. 

There were rumors of trouble now and then from 
the Defenders, and a good deal of anxiety was felt 
about the property in the neighborhood. Lord 
Granard's carriage was pelted ; ^ peojjle were robbed, 

1 During the recent agitations in Ireland, the present Lord Gra- 
nard, grandson of Maria's friend, Lady Moira, was compelled to seek 
the aid of dragoons and constabulary. He is the head of the 
Catholic Union of Ireland, a resident landlord, and a patriotic Irish- 
man. His first wife, a great heiress, was descended from one of the 
victims of 1798 ; but all this has not shielded him from anuoyauce. 


roasted, and murdered soiuetiiues. The Whitc-Tooihs, 
Maria explains, were men who stuck ''tivo pieces of 
broken tobacco-pipes at each corner of the moutli to 
disguise the face and voice." These White- Tooths 
are often mentioned in letters of the time. She 
speaks of the time as "a Avliirlwiud in our county." 
One of the events of the year 1795, at Edge- 
worthstown, was the arrival of jNIiss IMary and Miss 
Charlotte Sneyd, who made it their home after this 
time. Another pleasant occasion was the return of 
Richard Edge worth, who made his family and liome 
a visit in this year. He returned to America, where 
he died in 1796. He left several children. In April, 
1795, Maria wrote of finishing " Toys and Tasks." 

In the year 1795, "Letters for Literary Ladies" 
appeared. It was published by Joseph Johnson of 
St. Paul's Churchyard. This was jMaria's first pub- 
lication. The " Letters " contained " Letter from a 
Gentleman to his Friend on the Birth of a Daughter," 
with the answer ; " Letters of Julia to Caroline ; " 
and an essay on the "Noble Art of Self-Justifica- 
tion." The l30ok was very popular, and went through 
several editions before 1814, and then appeared in 
the collected works. 

These essays are admirably written ; and the style 
is clear and forcible, though perhaps a little anti- 
quated. The ideas and opinions are sound and well 
considered, and they will well repay the thoughtful 
reader. Their influence was very great, and for many 
years they were widely read and often quoted. 

In 1796 Maria mentions her father doing her " the 
honor to let me copy his election letters," when he 


failed of election as member of Parliament for Long- 
ford. In the same year, encouraged by the pleasant 
success of the letters, Maria published the collection 
of tales now known as the "Parent's Assistant." 
Years before, she had written many of these little 
stories, which are full of wit, pathos, and life. Her 
father named it " Parent's Friend," but Mr. Johnson 
has degraded it into the " Parent's Assistant; " which 
I dislike particularly, from associations with an old 
book of arithmetic, called " The Tutor's Assistant." 
This small volume contained " The Purple Jar," 
which was afterwards added to "Rosamond." The 
other stories were "Little Dog Trusty," "The Orange 
Man," "Tarlton," "Lazy Lawrence," "The False 
Key," "The Bracelet," "Mademoiselle Panache," 
" The Birthday Present," " Old Poz," " The Mimic." 
" Simple Susan " was not written until after this 
edition was printed. 

In February, 1799, a little theatre was put up for 
the children ; and in it they acted Justice Poz, from 
this book. Sneyd Edge worth played the justice, 
" Old Poz," with great spirit. 

At this time the post town of Edgeworthstown 
was Mullingar, fourteen miles ; and the mail only 
went three times a week. That and high postage 
rates made letters very scarce and a great treat. The 
franking privilege was then in full vogue. At this 
time Maria read and was entertained with " Nature 
and Art " by Mrs. Inchbald, whose acquaintance she 
made some years after. 

In 1797 Mr. Johnson wished to publish some 
copies of " Parent's Assistant," and make the edition 

"tarent's assistant." 103 

suitable for gifts. He used fine paper, and illustrated 
it. Miss Beaufort, daughter of Dr. Beaufort, rector 
of Navan, was making a visit at Edgeworthstown ; 
and she made some designs which were used for the 
book, and are still to be found in some copies of this 
delightful little volume. Maria alludes to continu- 
ing her work on " Practical Education," in 1797, and 
says her father has written a chapter on " Grammar " 
and one on "Mechanics." She says she has been 
" up early for three mornings," under the pressure of 
work this brought. 

She began at this time to write some of the stories 
which afterwards appear among her " Moral Tales." 
She designed them as a sequel to the " Parent's 
Assistant." She was thinking on the subject of 
" Irish Bulls ; " though she wrote that she was not 
nearly ready to write the essay, and was going 
directly to "Parent's Assistant," meaning, probably, 
the tales intended as a sequel. She asked one cor- 
respondent for "any good anecdotes from the age 
of five to fifteen years, good latitude and longitude 
will suit me ; and, if you can tell me any pleas- 
ing misfortunes of emigrants, so much the better. 
I have a great desire to draw a picture of an anti- 
Mademoiselle Panache, a well-informed, well-bred 
French governess, an emigrant." — "I am going 
to write a story for boys, which will, I believe, 
make a volume to follow ' The Good French Gov- 
erness.' " 

In November of 1797, Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth 
died, leaving a number of young children. 

Maria says, — 


' ' During the fifteen preceding years of which I have 
been giving an account, the variety of my father's em- 
ployments never prevented him from attending to his 
great object, — the education of his children. 

' ' He explained and described clearly. He knew so 
exactly the habits, powers, and knowledge of his pupils, 
that he seldom failed in estimating what each could com- 
prehend or accomplish. He saw at once where their diffi- 
culty lay, and knew how far to assist, how far to urge, 
the mind, and where to leave it entirely to its own exer- 
tions. His patience in teaching was peculiarly' meritori- 
ous, I may say surprising, in a man of his vivacity. 

"The reward of his praise was delightful, it was so 
warmly, so fondly given. The cool by-stander might 
have thought that it would inspire vanity ; but against 
this danger there was a preservative : there was mixed 
with the praise so much affectionate sympathy, so much 
parental triumph in his children's success, that affection 
for him was excited more than vanity for themselves ; 
and they insensibly drew the conclusion, that affection is 
better worth than admiration. 

"In the succeeding j-ear my father's pursuits were all 
interrupted by domestic calamity. Mrs. Edgeworth's 
health, which had long been precarious, rapidly declined. 
She died in the year 1797. 

"I have heard my father say, that during the seven- 
teen years of his marriage with this lady, he never once 
saw her out of temper, and never received from her an 
unkind word or an angry look. Her solicitude and atten- 
tion in the education of a large family of children were 
unremitting, greater than her health could bear, and such 
as even maternal affection would have found difficult, 
perhaps impossible, to sustain, unless they had been sup- 
ported by attachment to a husband of superior mind. 


" IMy father was past fift}' when ho was loft a tliird 
time a widoAvor, with a nunu'roiis family, four sons and 
five daughters living with him, some of tlioni grown up, 
and some very young. Besides liis eliildren, two sisters 
of the late Mrs. Edgeworth resided with us. They had 
friends and counections in England, for Avhom they had 
high esteem and affection ; yet they remained in Ireland 
after their sister's death, continuing to form part of a 
family attached to them, not only by the ties of kindred, 
but by the strongest feelings of love and gratitude. . . . 

"This was an auspicious omen to the common people 
in our neighborhood, by whom they were universally 
beloved : it spoke well, they said, for the new lady." 

" Among the acquaintance and friends whose society he 
cultivated at intervals when he emerged from his domestic 
circle, was Dr. Beaufort, whose name is well known to 
the British public as author of one of the best maps of 
Ireland, with a valuable memoir of its topography. He 
was still better known in his own country as an excellent 
clergyman, pious and liberal, with most conciliating 

"My father first met him at Mr. Foster's (afterwards 
Lord Oriel) at Collon, of which place Dr. Beaufort was 
vicar ; and afterwards saw him frequently at Black Castle, 
the residence of my father's favorite sister, Mrs. Ruxton. 

"Dr. Beaufort's literary tastes and delightful conver- 
sation were peculiarly attractive to my father, who soon 
became intimate with him and with his amiable family. 
The eldest daughter possessed uncommon talents foi* 
drawing; and, at the request of my aunt (Mrs. Ruxton), 
Miss Beaufort sketched designs for some of my stories. 
These were shown to my father ; and he criticised them as 
freely as if they had not been the work of a lady, and 
made for his daughter. He was charmed by the temper 


and good sense with which his criticisms were received, 
and, in a visit which she and her family paid at Edge- 
worthstown, had an opportunity of seeing that she pos- 
sessed exactly the temper, abilities, and disposition which 
would insure the happiness of his family, as well as his 
own, if he could hope to win her affections." 

Maria writes of this event : — 

"When I first knew of this attachment, and before I 
was well acquainted with Miss Beaufort, I own that I did 
not wish for the marriage. I had not my father's quick 
penetration into character. I did not at first discover the 
superior abilities and qualities which he saw : consequently 
I did not anticipate any of the happy consequences from 
this union which he foresaw. All that I thought, I told 
him. With the most kind patience he bore with me, and, 
instead of withdrawing his affection, honored me the more 
with his confidence. He took me with him to Collon, 
threw open his whole mind to me, let me see all the 
changes and workings of his heart. I remember his once 
saying to me, ' I believe that no human creature ever saw 
the heart of another more completely without disguise 
than you have seen mine.' I can never, without the 
strongest emotions of affection and gratitude, recollect 
the infinite kindness he showed me at this time, the solici- 
tude he felt for my happiness at the moment when all his 
own was at stake, and while all his feelings were in the 
agony of suspense : the consequence was, that no daugh- 
ter ever felt more sympathy with a father than I felt for 
him ; and assuredly the pains he took to make me fully 
acquainted with the character of the woman he loved, 
and to make mine known to her, were not thrown away. 
Both her inclination and judgment decided in his favor." 


Til the letter of IMay 16, 1708, which Maria wrote 
to Miss Beaufort, on the occasion of lier father's 
announcement of his intended marriage, she says, — 

"Among the many kindnesses my father has shown 
me, the greatest, I think, has been his permitting me to 
see his heart Ct decouvert ; and I have seen, by your kind 
sincerity and his, that in good and cultivated minds love 
is no idle passion, but one that inspires useful and gen- 
erous cnerg}'. I have been convinced by your example 
of what I was always inclined to believe, that the power 
of feeling affection is increased hy tlie cultivation of the 
understanding. Tlie wife of an Indian Yogii (if a Yogii 
be permitted to have a wife) might be a very affectionate 
woman, but her sj'mpathy with her husband could not 
have a very extensive sphere. As his eyes are to be 
continually fixed upon the point of his nose, hers, in 
duteous sympathy, must squint in like manner ; and if 
the perfection of his virtue be to sit so still that tlie birds 
{vide Sacontala) may unmolested build nests in his hair, 
his wife cannot better show her affection than by yielding 
her tresses to them with similar patient stupidit}-. Are 
there not European Yogiis, or men whose ideas do not go 
much farther than le bout du nezf And how delightful it 
must be to be chained, for better, for worse, to one of 
this species ! I should guess — for I know nothing of the 
matter — that the courtship of an ignorant lover must be 
almost as insipid as a marriage with him ; for ' My jewel,' 
continually repeated, without new setting, must surely 
fatigue a little." 

Both witty and wise. 

In continuing the letter, she makes some very good 
observations apropos of domestic life : — 


" I flatter mj^self that j^oii will find me gratefully exact 
en helle-Jille. I think there is a great deal of difference 
between that species of ceremony which exists with 
acquaintance, and that which should always exist with the 
best of friends. The one prevents the growth of affec- 
tion, the other preserves it in youth and age. Many fool- 
ish people make fine plantations, and forget to fence 
them : so that the young trees are destroyed by the young 
cattle, and the bark of the forest trees is sometimes in- 
jured. You need not, my dear Miss Beaufort, fence 
yourself round with stony palings in this family, where all 
have been early accustomed to mind their lioundaries. 
As for me, you see my intentions, or at least my theories, 
are good enough. If my practice be but half as good, 
you will be content, will you not? But theory was born 
in Brobdignag, and practice iu Lilliput. So much the 
better for me." 

This allusion was in reference to her own diminu- 
tive figure. 

Some very harsh comments were made by the 
reviewer of Mr. Edgeworth's memoirs on Maria's 
conduct in accepting gracefully successive step- 
mothers. He characterized her action as "indeli- 
cate." It is difficult to understand just what the 
gentleman would have had a young lady do under 
like circumstances; and, after reading the extract 
from the letter she wrote Miss Beaufort, one is more 
inclined to admire her womanly and judicious feel- 
ing than to cavil at her cheerful acquiescence in the 
inevitable. She gracefully took a second place where 
she had been first. She was somewhat older than 
Miss Beaufort. 


Mr. Edgeworth wrote Dr. Darwiii as follows : — 

[To Dr. Darwin. 1 

" 1798. 

. . . "And now for my piece of news, which I have 
kept for the last. I am going to be married to a young 
lady of small fortune and large accomplishments, — com- 
pared with my age, much youth (not quite thirty), and 
more prudence, — some beauty, more sense, — uncommon 
talents, more uncommon temper, — liked in my family, 
loved by me. If I can say all this three years hence, 
shall not I have been a fortunate, not to say a wise 

While travelling to Dublin in the stage-coach, to 
marry Miss Beaufort, Mr. Edgeworth had a conver- 
sation with a friend, who made the following remark 
to him : — 

"'No man, you know,' said he, 'but a fool, would 
venture to make a first speech in Parliament, or to marry, 
after he was fifty.' 

"My father laughed, and, surrendering all title to wis- 
dom, declared that, though he was past fifty, he was 
actually going, in a few days as he hoped, to be married, 
and in a few months would probably make his ' first 
speech in Parliament.' " 

Mr. Edgeworth was married in Dublin, May 31, 
1798, to Miss Beaufort ; and they returned immedi- 
ately to Edgeworthstown, through a part of the 
country which was in actual insurrection, as there 
were threats of a French invasion. They arrived 
there in safety. Mrs. Edgeworth long afterwards 
wrote of her reception : — 


"All agreed in making me feel at once at home, and 
part of the family. All received me with the most un- 
affected cordiality, but with Maria it was something more. 
She more than fulfilled the promise of her letter : she 
made me at once her most intimate friend ; and in all the 
serious concerns of life, and in every trifle of the day, 
treated me with the most generous confidence." 

Maria, in writing of the disturbances at a distance, 
after describing the pleasure of the family in wel- 
coming Mrs. Edgeworth, says, — 

"I am going on in the old way, — writing stories. I 
cannot be a captain of dragoons, and sitting with my 
hands before me would not make any of us one degree 
safer. I know nothing of 'Practical Education.' It is 
advertised to be published. I have a volume of wee-wee 
stories, about the size of 'The Purple Jar,' all about 
Rosamond. ' Simple Susan ' went to Fox Hall a few 
days ago, for Lady Auue (Fox) to carry to England." 



Internal Dissensions. — French Invasion. — The Edgeworths' Alarm. 
— Their Flight. — Thej' return to Eilgeworthstown. — Defeat of 
the French. — Quiet restored. — " Practical Education " pub- 
lished.— The Plan of this Work. 

Maria writes of this time and its unsettled condi- 
tion : — 

" Tlie summer of 179S passed without any interruption 
of our domestic tranquillity. Though disturbances in dif- 
ferent parts of Ireland had broken out, yet now, as in 
former trials, the county of Longford remained quiet, — 
free at least from open insurrection, and, as far as ap- 
peared, the people well disposed. 

" Towards the autumn of the year 179-*^, this country 
became in such a state, that the necessity for resorting to 
the sword seemed imminent. Even in the county of 
Longford, which had so long remained quiet, alarming 
symptoms appeared ; not immediately in our neighl^or- 
hood, but within six or seven miles of us, near Granard. 
In the adjacent counties military law had been proclaimed, 
and our village was within a mile of the bounds of the dis- 
turbed county of Westmeath. Though his own tenantry, 
and all in whom he had put trust, were quiet, and, as far 
us he could judge, well disposed ; 5'et my father was aware, 
from information of too good authority to be doubted, 
that numbers of disaffected persons throughout Ireland 
were leagued in secret rebellion, and waited only for the 
arrival of the French to break out. 


"Previous to this time, the principal gentry in the 
county had raised corps of yeomanry ; but my father, wlio 
had held for some months the commission of captain of 
yeoman cavalry, had delayed doing so, because as long as 
the civil authority had been sufficient he was unwilling to 
resort to military interference, or to the ultimate law of 
force, of the abuse of which he had seen too many recent 
examples. However, it now became necessary, even for 
the sake of justice to his own tenantry, that they should 
be put upon a footing with others, have equal security of 
protection, and an opportunity of evincing their loyal dis- 
positions. He therefore determined to raise a corps of 
infantry, which would accommodate a poorer class of the 
people, and to admit Catholics as well as Protestants. 
This was so unusual, and thought to be so hazardous a 
degree of liberality, that by some of an opposite party it 
was attributed to the worst motives. Many who wished 
him well came privately to let him know of the odium to 
which he exposed himself. The timid hinted fears and 
suspicions that he was going to put arms into the hands 
of men who would desert or betray him in the hour of 
trial, who might find themselves easily absolved from 
holding any faith with a Protestant, and with one of a 
family, of whom the head, in former times, had been dis- 
tinguished by the appellation of Protestant Frank. He 
thanked his secret advisers, but openly and steadily 
abided by his purpose. . . . On his own part, my father 
knew the risk he ran ; but he braved it." 

About this time Maria, in a letter describing the 
distressing uncertainties of the time, says, — 

" My father has made our little rooms so nice for us : 
they are all fresh painted and papered. O Rebels! O 


French ! Spare them ! "We have never injured you, "and 
all wo wish is to see everybody as happy as ourselves." 

Continuing her description of affairs, she says, — 

" The corps of Edgeworthstown iufauti7 was raised ; 
and my father's nephew Mr. Fox, who had been lieuten- 
ant-colonel of the Longford militia, was appointed one of 
the lieutenants. But the arms were, by some mistake of 
the ordnance-office, delayed. The anxiety for their arri- 
val was extreme, for every day and every hour the French 
were expected to laud. 

" At the first appearance of disturbance in Ireland, he 
had offered to carry his sisters-in-law, the Misses Sneyd, 
to their friends in England ; but this offer they refused. 
Of the domestics, three men were English and Protestant, 
two Irish aud Catholic ; the women were all Irish and 
Catholic, excepting the housekeeper, an Englishwoman, 
who had lived with us many years. There were no dis- 
sensions or suspicions between the Catholics and Protest- 
ants in the family, and the English servants did not de- 
sire to quit us at this crisis. 

" At last came the dreaded news. The French, who 
landed at Killala, were, as we learned, on then- march to- 
wards Longford. The touch of Ithm-iel's spear could not 
have been more sudden or effectual, than the arrival of 
this intelligence, in showing people in their real forms. 
In some faces joy struggled for a moment with feigned 
sorrow, and then, encouraged ])y sympathy, yielded to the 
natural expression. Still my father had no reason to dis- 
trust those in whom he had placed confidence : his tenants 
were steady ; he saw no change in any of the men of his 
corps, though they were in the most perilous situation, 
having rendered themselves obnoxious to the rebels and 
invaders by becoming yeomen, and yet standing without 


means of resistance or defence, their arms not having 

"The evening of the day when the news of the suc- 
cess and approach of the Frencli came to Edgeworthstown, 
all seemed quiet ; but early the next morning, Sept. 4, a 
report reached us, that the rebels were up in arms within 
a mile of the village, pouring in from the county of West- 
meath hundreds strong. Such had been the tranquillity 
of the preceding night, that we could not at first believe 
their report. An hour afterwards it was contradicted. 
An English servant, who was sent out to ascertain the 
truth, brought back word that he had ridden three miles 
from the village on the road described, and that he had 
seen only twenty or thirty men with green boughs in their 
hats and pikes in their hands, who said '■'■that they ivere 
standing there to protect themselves against the Orange- 
men, of tvhom they tvere in dread, and tcho, as they heard, 
were coming doion to cut them to jjieces/' This was all 
nonsense, but no better sense could be obtained. Report 
upon report, equally foolish, was heard, or at least uttered. 
But this much being certain, that men armed with pikes 
were assembled, my father sent off an express to the 
next garrison-town (Longford), requesting the command- 
ing officer to send him assistance for the defence of this 
place. He desired us to be prepared to set out at a 
moment's warning. We were under this uncertainty, 
when an escort with an ammunition-cart passed through 
the village on its way to Longford. It contained several 
barrels of powder, intended to blow up the bridges, and 
to stop the progress of the enemy. One of the officers 
of the party rode up to our house, and offered to let us 
have the advantage of his escort. But, after a few min- 
utes deliberation, this friendly proposal was declined. 
My father determined that he would not stir till he knew 


whether he could have assistance ; and, as it did not 
appear as yet absolutely necessary that we should go, we 
staid — fortunately for us ! 

"About a quarter of an hour after the officer and the 
escort had departed, we, who were all assembled in the 
portico of the house, heard a report like a loud clap of 
thunder. The doors and windows shook with some vio- 
lent concussion : a few minutes afterwards the officer gal- 
loped into the yard, and threw himself into my father's 
arms almost senseless. The ammunition-cart had blown 
up : one of the officers had been severely wounded, and 
the horses and the man leading them killed ; the wounded 
officer was at a farmhouse on the Longford road, at about 
two miles distance. The fear of the rebels was now sus- 
pended in concern for this accident. Mrs. Edgeworth 
went immediately to give her assistance : she left her 
carriage for the use of the wounded gentleman, and rode 
back. At the entrance of the village she was stopped by 
a gentleman in great terror, who, taking hold of the bridle 
of her horse, begged her not to attempt to go farther, 
assuring her that the rebels were coming into the town. 
But she answered that she must and would return to her 
family. She rode on, and found us waiting anxiously 
for her. No assistance could be afforded from Longford ; 
the rebels were re-assembling, and advancing towards the 
village ; and there was no alternative but to leave our 
home as fast as possible. One of our carriages having 
been left with the wounded officer, we had but one other 
at this moment for our whole family, eleven in number. 
No mode of conveyance could be had for some of the 
female servants : our faithful English housekeeper offered 
to stay till the return of the carriage which had been left 
with the officer ; and, as we could not carry her, we were 
obliged, most reluctantly, to leave her behind, to follow, 


as we hoped, immediately. As we passed through the 
village, we heard nothing but the entreaties, lamentations, 
and objurgations of those who could not procure the 
means of can-ying off their goods or their families : most 
painful when we could give no assistance. 

"Next to the safety of his own family, my father's 
greatest anxiety was for his defenceless corps. No men 
could behave better than they did at this first moment of 
trial. Not one absented himself ; though many, living at 
a distance, might, if they had been so inclined, have 
found plausible excuses for non-appearance. The bugle 
was not sounded to call them together ; but they were in 
then* ranks in the street the moment they had their cap- 
tain's orders, declaring that whatever he commanded they 
would do. He ordered them to march to Longford. The 
idea of going to Longford could not be agreeable to many 
of them, who were Catholics, because that town was full 
of those who called themselves, — I would avoid using 
party-names if I could, but I can no otherwise make the 
facts intelligible, — who called themselves Orangemen, 
and who were not supposed to have favorable opinions of 
any of another religious persuasion. There was no re- 
luctance shown, however, by the Catholics of this corps 
to go among them. The moment the word ' march ' was 
uttered by their captain, they marched with alacrity. One 
of my brothers, a youth of fifteen, was in their ranks : 
another, twelve years old, marched with them. 

"We expected every instant to hear the shout of the 
rebels entering Edgeworthstown. When we had got 
about half a mile out of the village, my father suddenly 
recollected that he had left on his table a paper contain- 
ing a list of his corps, and that, if this should come into 
the hands of the rebels, it might be of dangerous conse- 
quence to his men : it would serve to point out their 


houses for pillage, and thoir families for destruction. He 
turned his horse instantly, and galloi)ed back. The time 
of his absence appeared immeasurably long ; but he re- 
turned safelj', after having destroyed the dangerous 

••' Al)out two miles from the village was the spot where 
the ammunition-cart had been blown up. The dead 
horses, swollen to an unnatural ])ulk, were lying across 
the road. As we approached, we saw two men in an ad- 
joining field looking at the I'emains of one of the soldiers, 
who had been literally blown to pieces. They ran toward 
us ; and we feared that they were rebels, going to stop us. 
They jumped over the ditch, and seized our bridles, but 
with friendly intent. With no small difficulty they dragged 
us past the dead horses, saying, ' God speed you ! and 
make haste anyway ! ' We were very ready to take their 
advice. After this, on the six long miles of the road 
from Edgeworthstowu to Longford, we did not meet a 
human being. It was all silent and desert, as if every 
creature had fled from the cabins by the roadside. 

" Longford was crowded with yeomanry of various 
corps, and with the inhabitants of the neighborhood, who 
had flocked thither for protection. With great difficulty 
the poor Edgeworthstown mfantry found lodgings. We 
were cordially received by the landlady of a good iun. 
Though her house was, as she said, ' fuller than it could 
hold ; ' yet she, being an old friend of my father's, did 
contrive to give us two rooms, in which we eleven were 
thankful to find ourselves. 

" AH our concern now was for those we had left behind. 
We heard nothing of our housekeeper all night, and were 
exceedingly alarmed ; but early the next morning, to our 
great joy, she arrived. She told us, that, after we had 
left her, she waited hour after hour for the carriage. She 


could hear nothing of it, as it had gone to Longford with 
the wounded officer. Towards evening a large body of 
rebels entered the village. She heard them at the gate, 
and expected that they would have broken in the next 
instant. But one, who seemed to be a leader, with a pike 
in his hand, set his back against the gate, and swore that, 
if he was to die for it the next minute, he would have 
the life of the first man who should open that gate, or set 
enemy's foot within side of that place. He said the 
housekeeper, who was left in it, was a good gentlewoman, 
and had done him a service, though she did not know him, 
nor he her. He had never seen her face ; but she had, 
the year before, lent his wife, when in distress, sixteen 
shillings, the rent of flax-ground, and he would stand her 
friend now. 

' ' He kept back the mob : they agreed to send him to 
the house with a deputation of six, to knoio the truth, and 
to ask for arms. The six men went to the back-door, 
and summoned the housekeeper. One of them pointed 
his blunderbuss at her, and told her that she must fetch 
all the arms in the house. She said she had none. Her 
champion asked her to saj' if she remembered him. ' No : 
to her knowledge, she had never seen his face.' He asked 
if she remembered having lent a woman money to pay 
her rent of flax-ground the year before. 'Yes,' she re- 
membered that ; and named the woman, the time, and 
the sum. His companions were thus satisfied of the truth 
of what he had asserted. He bid her not to be frighted, 
for that no harm should happen to her nor any belonging 
to her : not a soul should get leave to go into her master's 
house ; not a twig should be touched, nor a leaf harmed. 
His companions huzzaed, and went off. Afterwards, as 
she was told, he mounted guard at the gate during the 
whole time the rebels were in town. 


" "\\nien the carriage at last returned, it was stopped 
by the rebels, who filled the street. They held their i)ikes 
to the horses, and to the coachman's breast, accushig 
him of being an Orangeman, because, as they said, he 
wore the Orange colors (our livery being yellow and 
brown). A painter, a friend of ours, who had been that 
day at our house copying some old family portraits, hap- 
pened to be in the street at that instant, and called out to 
the mob, ' Gentlemen^ it is yelloiv! Gentlemen^ it is not 
orange!^ Inconsequence of this happy distinction they 
let go the coachman ; and the same man, who had mounted 
guard at the gate, came up with his friends, rescued the 
carriage, and, surrounding the coachman with their pikes, 
brought him safely into the yard. The pole of the car- 
riage having been broken in the first onset, the house- 
keeper could not leave Edgeworthstown till morning. 
She passed the night in walking up and down, listening 
and watching ; but the rebels returned no more, and thus 
our house was saved by the gratitude of a single indi- 

" We had scarcely time to rejoice in the escape of our 
housekeeper, and safety of our house, when we found 
that new dangers arose even from this escape. Even 
from the house being spared, jealousy and suspicion arose 
in the minds of many, who at this time saw every thing 
through the midst of party prejudice. The dislike to my 
father's corps appeared every hour more strong. He saw 
the consequences that might arise from the slightest 
breaking-out of quarrel. It was not possible for him to 
send his men, unarmed as they still were, to their homes, 
lest they should be destroyed by the rebels : yet the 
officers of the other corps wished to have them ordered 
out of the town, and to this effect joined in a memorial 
to government. . . . 


"These petty dissensions were, however, at one mo- 
ment suspended and forgotten in a general sense of 
danger. An express arrived late one night, with the 
news that the French, who were rapidly advancing, were 
within a few miles of the town of Longford. A panic 
seized the people. There were in the town eighty of the 
carabineers and two corps of yeomanry, but it was pro- 
posed to evacuate the garrison. My father strongly op- 
posed this measure ; and undertook, with fifty men, if 
arms and ammunition were supplied, to defend the jail 
of Longford, where there was a strong pass, at which the 
enemy might be stopped. He urged that a stand might 
be made there till the king's army should come up. The 
offer was gladly accepted : men, arms, ammunition, all he 
could want or desire, were placed at his disposal. He 
slept that night in the jail, with every thing prepared for 
its defence. But the next morning fresh news came, that 
the French had turned off from the Longford road, and 
were going towards Granard : of this, however, there was 
no certainty. My father, by the desire of the commaud- 
ino- officer, rode out to reconnoitre ; and my brother went 
to the top of the court-house with a telescope, for the 
same purpose. We (Mrs. Edgeworth, my aunts, my sis- 
ters, and myself) were waiting to hear the result in one 
of the upper sitting-rooms of the inn, which fronted the 
street. We heard a loud shout ; and, going to the win- 
dow, we saw the people throwing up their hats, and heard 
huzzas. An express had arrived, with news that the 
French and the rebels had been beaten ; that Gen. Lake 
had come up with them, at a place called Ballynamuck, 
near Granard; that fifteen hundred rebels and French 
were killed, and that the French generals and officers were 

"We were impatient for my father, when we heard 


this joyful news. IIo had not yet returned, and wc looked 
out of the windows in hopes of seeino; him ; but we 
could see only a great number of the people of the town, 
shaking hands with each other. This lasted a few min- 
utes ; and then the crowd gathered in silence round one 
man, who spoke with angry vehemence and gesticulation, 
stamping, and frequently wiping his forehead. We 
thought he was a mountebank haranguing the populace, 
till we saw that he wore a uniform. Listening with curi- 
osity, to make out wliat he was saying, we observed that 
he looked up towards us ; and we thought we hoard him 
pronounce the names of my father and brother in tones of 
insult. We could scarcely believe what we heard him 
say. Pointing up to the top of the court-house, he ex- 
claimed, — 

" ' Tliat young Edgeworth ought to be dragged down 
from the top of that house.' Our housekeeper burst 
into the room, so much terrified she could hardly speak. 

"'My master, ma'am! it is all against my master! 
The mob say they will tear him to pieces if they catch 
hold of him. They say he's a traitor, — that he illumi- 
nated the jail to deliver it up to the French.' 

" No words can give an idea of our astonishment. Illu- 
minated ! AYhat could be meant by the jail being illumi- 
nated? My father had literally but two farthing candles, 
by the light of which he had been reading the newspaper 
late the preceding night. These, however, were said to 
be signals for the enemy ! The absurdity of the whole 
was so glaring that we could scarcely conceive the danger 
to be real : but our pale landlady's fears were urgent ; she 
dreaded that her house should be pulled down. We found 
that the danger was not the less because the accusation 
was false. On the contrary, it was great in proportion to 
its absurdity ; for the people who could at once be under 


such a perversion of intellects, and such an illusion of 
their senses, must indeed be in a state of frenzy. 

' ' The crowd had by this time removed from before the 
windows, but we heard that they were gone to that end 
of the town through which they expected Mr. Edgeworth 
to return. 

' ' We sent immediately to the commanding officer, in- 
forming him of what we had heard, and requesting his 
advice and assistance. He came to us, and recommended 
that we should despatch a messenger to warn IVIr. Edge- 
worth of his danger, and to request that he would not 
return to Longford this day. The officer added, that, in 
consequence of the rejoicings for the victory, his men 
would probably be all drunk in a few hours, and that he 
could not answer for them. This officer, a captain of 
yeomanry, was a good-natured but inefficient man, who 
spoke under considerable nervous agitation, and seemed 
desirous to do all he could, but not to be able to do any 
thing. We wrote instantly, and with difficulty found a 
man who undertook to convey the note. It was to be 
carried to meet him on one road, and Mrs. Edgeworth and 
I determined to drive out to meet him on the other. We 
made our way down to the inn-yard, where the carriage 
was ready. Several gentlemen spoke to us as we got into 
the carriage, begging us not to be alarmed. Mrs. Edge- 
worth replied that she was more surprised than alarmed. 
The commanding officer and the sovereign of Longford 
walked by the side of the carriage through the town ; and, 
as the mob believed that we were going away not to 
return, we got through without molestation. We went a 
few miles on the road towards Edgeworthstown, till, at 
a tenant's house, we heard that my father had passed by 
half an hour ago ; that he was riding in company with an 
officer, supposed to be of Lord Cornwallis's or Gen. 


Lake's army ; that they had taken a short ait, wlilch led 
into Longford by another entrance, — most fortunately, 
not that at which an armed mob had assembled, expecting 
the object of their fury. Seeing him return to the inn 
with an officer of the king's army, they imagined, as we 
were afterwards told, that he was brought back a pris- 
oner ; and they were satisfied. 

" The moment we saw him safe, we laughed at our own 
fears, and again doubted the reality of the danger ; more 
especially, as he treated the idea with the utmost incredu- 
lity and scorn. 

"Major (now Gen.) Eustace was the officer who re- 
turned with him. He dined with us. Everj' thing appeared 
quiet : the persons who had taken refuge at the inn were 
now gone to their homes ; and it was supposed, that, what- 
ever dispositions to riot had existed, the news of the 
approach of some of Lord Cornwallis's suite, or of troops 
who were to bring in the French prisoners, would prevent 
all probability of disturbance. In the evening the pris- 
oners arrived at the inn. A crowd followed them, but 
quietly. A sun-burnt, coarse-looking man, in a huge 
cocked hat, with a quantity of gold lace on his clothes, 
seemed to fix all attention. He was pointed out as the 
French general, Homburg, or Sarrazin. As he dis- 
mounted from his horse, he threw the bridle over its neck, 
and looked at the animal as if he felt that he was his only 

"We heard my father in the evening ask Major Eus- 
tace to walk with him through the town to the barrack- 
yard to evening parade ; and we saw them go out to- 
gether, without our feeling the slightest apprehension. 
We remained at the inn. By this time Col. Handfield, 
Major Cannon, and some other officers had arrived, and 
were at dinner in a parlor on the ground floor, under our 


room. It l)eing hot weather, the windows were open. 
Nothing now seemed to be thought of but rejoicings for 
the victory. Candles were preparing for an illumination : 
waiters, chambermaids, landlady, all hands were 1)usy 
scooping turnips and potatoes for candlesticks, to stand 
in every pane of every loyal window. 

" In the midst of this preparation, about half an hour 
after my father had left us, we heard a great uproar in 
the street. At first we thought the shouts were only re- 
joicings for victory : but, as they came nearer, we heard 
screechings and yellings, indescribably horrible. A mob 
had gathered at the gates of the barrack-yard, and, joined 
by many soldiers of the yeomanry on leaving parade, had 
followed Major Eustace and my father from the barracks. 
The major being this evening in colored clothes, the peo- 
ple no longer knew him to be an officer, nor conceived, as 
tliey had done before, that Mr. Edgeworth was his 
prisoner. The mob had not contented themselves with 
the horrid yells that we had heard, but had been pelting 
them with hard turf, stones, and brickbats. From one of 
these my father received a blow on the side of his head, 
coming with such force as to stagger and almost to stun 
him ; but he kept himself up, knowing that if once he fell 
he should be trampled under foot. He walked on steadily 
till he came within a few yards of the inn, when one of 
the mob seized hold of Major Eustace by the collar. My 
father, seeing the windows of the inn open, called with a 
loud voice, ' Major Eustace is in danger ! ' 

"The oflficers, who were at dinner, and who till that 
moment had supposed the noise in the street to be only 
drunken rejoicings, immediately ran out. At the sight of 
British officers and drawn swords, the populace gave way, 
and dispersed in different directions. 

"The preparation for the illuminations then went on, 


as if notliing had intorv(MiC(l. All the panes of our win- 
dows in the front room were in a blaze of li.iiht by the 
time the mol) returned through the street. The night 
passed without furtlior disturbance. 

''As early as we could the next morning we left Long- 
ford, and returned homewards ; all danger from rebels be- 
\\vj: now over, the rebellion having been terminated by the 
late battle. 

" When we came near Edgeworthstown, we saw many 
well-known faces at the cabin-doors, looking out to wel- 
come us. One man, who was sitting on the bank of a 
ditch by the roadside, when he looked up as our horses 
passed, and saw my father, clasped his hands, and blessed 
our return ; his face, as the morning sun shone upon it, 
was the strongest picture of joy I ever saw. The village 
was a melancholy spectacle, — windows shattered, and 
doors broken. But though the mischief done was great, 
there had been little pillage. Within our gates we found 
all property safe ; literally ' not a twig touched, nor a leaf 
harmed.' Within the house every thing was as we had 
left it : a map that we had been consulting was still open 
upon the library-table, with pencils, and slips of paper 
containing the lessons in arithmetic, in which some of the 
young people had been engaged the morning we had been 
driven from home ; a pansy, in a glass of "water, which 
one of the children had been drawing, was still on the 
chimney-piece. These trivial circumstances, marking re- 
pose and tranquillity, struck us at this moment with an 
unreasonable sort of surprise, and all that had passed 
seemed like an incoherent dream. The joy of having my 
father in safety remained, and gratitude to Heaven for his 
preservation. These feelings spread inexpressible pleas- 
ure over what seemed to be a new sense of existence. 
Even the most common things appeared delightful : the 


green lawn, the still groves, the birds singing, the fresh 
air, all external nature, and all the goods and conveniences 
of life, seemed to have wonderfully increased in value, 
from the fear into which we had been put of losing them 

" The first thing my father did, the day we came home, 
was to draw up a memorial to the lord-lieutenant, desir- 
ing to have a court-martial held on the sergeant, who, by 
haranguing the populace, had raised the mob at Longford ; 
his next care was to walk through the village, to examine 
what damage had been done by the rebels, and to order 
that repairs of all his tenants' houses should be made at 
his expense. A few days after our return, government 
ordered that the arms of the Edgeworthstowu infantry 
should be forwarded by the commanding officer at Long- 
ford. Through the whole of their hard week's trial, the 
corps had, without any exception, behaved perfectly well. 
It was perhaps more difficult to honest and brave men 
passively to bear such a trial than to encounter any to 
which they could have been exposed in action. 

"When the arms for the corps arrived, my father, in 
delivering them to the men, thanked them publicly for their 
conduct, assuring them that he would remember it when- 
ever he should have opportunities of serving them, collect- 
ively or individually. In long after years, as occasions 
arose, each, who continued to deserve it, found in him a 
friend, and felt that he more than fulfilled his promise." 

Maria, with her father and mother, visited the 
scene of the battle at Bally nam iick ; and she found 
some difficulty in managing her saddle-horse "Dap- 
ple," v^^ho did not like all the sights of the camp as 
w^ell as she did. There was another alarm of a 
rising of the rebels at Granard, which occasioned 


a barricading of the house, and watches being set 
all day and night in the town and houses at Edge- 
worthstown and tlie neighborhood; but the rising 
was suppressed, and the tide of insurrection and 
war passed. We hear no more of this, except the 
trials of the insurgents. In speaking of the after 
events, Maria writes : — 

" Some few, very few indeed, of his tenantiy on a 
remote estate — alas ! too near Ballynamuek — did join 
the rebels. These persons were never re-admitted on my 
father's estate. But it was difficult, in certain cases, to 
know what ought to be done ; for instance, with regard 
to the man who had saved our house from pillage, but 
who had certainly been joined with the rebels. It was 
the wise policy of government to pardon those who had 
not been ringleaders in this rebellion, and who, repenting 
of their folly, were desirous to return to their allegiance 
and to their peaceable duties. My father sent for this 
man, and said he would apply to government for a pardon 
for him. The man smiled, and clapping his pocket said, 
' I have my Corny here safe already, I thank your honor, 
else sure I would not have been such a fool as to be 
showing myself without I had ii purtection^' — a pardon 
signed by the lord-lieutenant, Lord CornwaUis, in their 
witty spirit of abbreviation, they called a Corny. 

"When my father said, that, however much we were 
obliged to him for saving the house, we could not reioard 
him for being a rebel, he answered, ' Oh, I know that I 
could not expect it, nor look for any thing at all, but what 
I got, — thanJcs.' With these words he went away, satis- 
fied, that, though my father gave him nothing at this time, 
his honor would never forget him. 

"A considerable time afterward, my father, finding 


that the man conducted himself well, took an opportunity 
of serving him. . . . 

"Before we quit this subject, it may be useful to 
record, that the French generals who headed this invasion 
declared they had been completely deceived as to the 
state of Ireland. They had expected to fiud the people 
in open rebellion, or at least, in their own phrase, organ- 
ized for insui'rection ; but, to their dismay, they found 
only ragamuffins, — canaille^ as they called them, — who, 
in joining their standard, did them infinitely more harm 
than good." 

The year 1797 found the family quietly enjoying 
Edgewortlistown. Maria and her father arranged 
in January for acting a comedy called " Whim for 
Whim." It was acted twice, with much applause, 
in the theatre built over the study. It was later 
offered to Sheridan, but rejected by him, as he did 
not consider it suited for the general public. 

" Practical Education " was published in 1798. 
It was well praised and abused by the critics, and 
made its authors famous. It appeared in a quarto 
form in two volumes, and went to a third edition 
in 1815. This work, from the hands of Maria Edge- 
worth and her father, contains many valuable origi- 
nal thoughts on education. It shows a wide and 
exhaustive range of study and experience in the 
care and development of the moral, mental, and 
physical nature of childhood and early youth. The 
titlepage bears the names of both father and daugh- 
ter ; but hers justly has the first place, for to her the 
public owed the best part of the conception and 
execution of this admirable book. It is true, she 


did avail herself of her father's assistance, and per- 
haps she relied too much on his views and theories 
for her plan ; yet t)ne can easily see where she thinks 
for herself, and writes from her own ideas. 

In the immense family of Mr. Edgeworth, it was 
easy to lind all the anecdotes, all the details and 
facts, necessary for a careful study of a practical 
system of education : but this work shows a vast 
amount of reading ; a patient accumulation of others' 
views on instruction ; a careful and thorough weigh- 
ing of methods, systems, and theories, wdiich make 
it quite an exhaustive history of education up to the 
time it was written. All this we owe to the clear 
mind and the methodical arrangement of JNIaria. 
She quotes, from a great number of writers, very 
pertinent and timely observations on the subject. 
Liberality and breadth mark both the plan and the 
execution of the treatise. 

Many have had the care of 3'oung children ; but 
few, very few people have drawn from that labor, 
which involves so much anxiety, fatigue, and daily 
worry, such a store of useful and judicious impres- 
sions and hints for future educators. Those wdio 
w'rite for and about children, and their wants and 
amusements, are usually visionary and unpractical, 
because, as a rule, they have not been in constant, or 
even infrequent, attendance on them. And those 
who are with children much ordinarily have neither 
the time, ability, nor the inclination to do what 
Maria Edgeworth did in preparing this treatise on 
"Practical Education," all the while being in con- 
stant practice of its rules. 


Rousseau, Mrae. cle Genlis, and others have offered 
to the public flowery and fanciful schemes of edu- 
cation, beneficial neither to the individual nor the 
community. The father who put his own offspring 
into a foundling-asylum was hardly a fit exponent 
of theories of education ; though unquestionably he 
had originality of thought, and many hints may 
be gained from his writings. The views of Mme. 
de Genlis also lose something when taken in con- 
nection with the incidents of her life ; and one 
cannot on this, as some other subjects, quite sepa- 
rate the author from the book. The reader cannot 
take, without limitations and painful doubts, the 
theories, however grand, beautiful, and original, of 
such writers as these, and some others who have 
written upon this subject. An immoral life does not 
add either dignity to the theme or confidence in the 
writer, when works of moralit}^ are to be considered. 

Sound morality, and practical study of the young 
and their development, must go hand in hand with 
the clearest perception and the most brilliant theo- 
ries for their future education. 

This book was severely criticised by some, who 
found no chapter on religion in it. What the pre- 
face says should have disarmed these cavillers. 
There is a sound and pure morality inculated in 
every part of the book : it breathes only the highest 
aspiration for human good and elevation. In the 
opening pages, where the authors explain their views, 
they say, — 

" On religion and politics we have been silent ; because 
we have no ambition to gain partisans, or to make prose- 


l3'tcs, and because we do not address ourselves exclusively 
to any sect or to any party." 

Mrs. BarbaiikU made some objections to the plan 
of Mr. Edgcworth, which was designed to exclude 
children from the society and example of servants. 
Gentlemen's " gentlemeii " and ladies' maids, with 
the usual large number of house and stable retain- 
ers of a well-appointed household in Great Britain, 
are too often the earliest instructors of children of 
good families. We have only to look at the way 
in which a large family is regulated even at the 
present day in England, to see that servants play 
too important a part in the first years of little chil- 
dren's lives. 

In his establishment this system was compara- 
tively easy. He had the Misses Sneyd with him, 
a wife, and some grown-up daughters. He himself 
was always at home, with the exception of short 
journeys or visits. His method of education was 
so well understood by his family, that an occasional 
absence made no material difference in the working 
of the system. His children were all intelligent and 
clever. Those who lived to grow up certainly exem- 
plified the advantages of his manner of instruction 
in his own family. 

Maria says, — 

"With respect to what is commonly called the educa- 
tion of the heart, we have endeavored to suggest the 
easiest means of inducing useful and agreeable habits, 
well-regulated sympathy, and benevolent affections. A 

1 Anne Letitia Barbauld, 1743-1825. 


witty writer says, ' II est permis d'ennuyer en moralitcs 
d'ici jusqu'a Coustantinople.' Unwilling to avail our- 
selves of this permission, we have sedulously avoided 
declamation ; and whenever we have been obliged to re- 
peat ancient maxims and common truths, we have at 
least thought it becoming to present them in a new 

They think they have reduced education to an 
"experimental science," having studied it in their 
own family. The preface says of the preparation 
and composition of the book, — 

"The first hint of the chapter on ' To3's ' was re- 
ceived from Dr. Beddoes ; the sketch of an introduction 
to chemistry for children was given to us by Mr. Lovell 
Edgeworth ; and the rest of the work was resumed from 
a design formed and begun twenty years ago." 

When a book appears under the name of two 
authors, it is natural to inquire what share belongs 
to each of them. All that relates to the art of 
teaching to read, in the chapter on " Tasks," the 
chapters on " Grammar and Classical Literature," 
" Geography," " Chronology," "Arithmetic," " Ge- 
ometry," and " Mechanics " was written by Mr. 
Edgeworth: the rest of the work was written by 
Maria. The chapter on " Obedience " was written 
from the notes of Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth, who 
liad remarkable success in managing her family. 
The manuscript was submitted to her, and she re- 
vised parts of it "in the last stage of a fatal dis- 

The plan of the book is quite extensive and com- 


prehensive. Besides the chapters already mentioned, 
those by Maria may be briefly named. They are the 
best part of the work ; being original, witty, clever, 
and valuable: "Toys," "Tasks," "On Attention," 
"Servants," "Acquaintance," "On Temper," "On 
Truth," " On Obedience," " On Rewards and Pun- 
ishments," " On Sympathy and Sensibility," " On 
Vanity, Pride, and Ambition." In vol. ii., " On 
Public and Private Education," " On Female Ac- 
complishments," " Memory and Invention," " Taste 
and Imagination," " Wit and Judgment," " Pru- 
dence and Economy," and a summary of the whole. 
There are twenty-five chapters in all, and an appen- 
dix. Mr. Edgeworth's part contains good resumes 
of the departments of study he names. They are 
such as any teacher of average ability could have 
prepared. ]\Iaria's work is evidently that of the 
thinker ; and she shows plainly in this — her first 
large work — the master hand which drew the never- 
to-be-forgotten characters of her novels and tales. 
One sees here the rules on which she built her social 

American and modern English systems of educa- 
tion differ, of course, widely from the style in vogue 
at the time the Edgeworths wrote. We draw for 
our methods of instruction all the best of the many 
plans and theories of education heretofore presented 
to the world. One may yet learn much from the 
work of the Edgeworths ; and in an article on " The 
Pedigree of the Quincy Pedagogy, of Quincy, 
Mass.," Mr. Horace Bumstead, of Atlanta Univer- 
sity, Georgia, says in 1880, — 


"Its lineage is made briglit with the names of Edge- 
worth in England, Rousseau and Jacotot in France, 
Pestalozzi in Switzerland, Froebel and Diesterweg in 
Germany, and oui' own Horace Maun in America." 

He says in the same article, — 

" The word-method has even an earlier history, both in 
Europe and m this country, than is here indicated. Near 
the beginning of the present century it was advocated by 
Maria Edgeworth in England, and practised by the cele- 
brated Jacotot in France." 

No one who has studied education in theory, or 
for the purpose of utilizing his information in teach- 
ing, should fail to read this book of the Edgeworths. 
There is a sincerity of purpose, and a direct, clear, 
and vivacious style, in "Practical Education," which 
will attract and interest all who are engaged in in- 
struction. Several of the chapters are admirable 
and brilliant treatises on the subjects they profess 
to explain. Among those which are to be especially 
commended are those on " Memory and Invention," 
"Taste and Imagination," and "The Summary." 
Maria says near the end of the book, — 

" The general principle, that we should associate pleas- 
ure with whatever we wish our pupils should pursue, and 
pain with whatever we wish that they should avoid, forms, 
our readers will perceive, the basis of our plan of educa- 



Maria visits England. — "Writes "Forgive and Forget," and "To- 
morrow."— Mr Edgeworth and Maria meet Old Friends.— 
Mrs. Barbauld. — Society at Clifton. — Visit to London. —John- 
son.— Return to Ireland. — " Castle Rackrent." — Maria prints 
more " Moral Tales."— " Belinda." — " Essay on Irish Bulls." — 
Professor Pictet's Visit to Edgeworthstown. — A Journey to 
Paris proposed. — Dr. Darwin's Death. 

In January, 1799, Mr. Edgeworth, who had been 
elected to the last Parliament held in Ireland, by 
the borough of St. John's-town, County Longford, 
visited Dublin with his wife. In the spring they 
went to England, accompanied by Maria. In this 
year Maria wrote a little story on a hint from Miss 
Charlotte Sneyd, "that the early lessons for the 
poor should speak with detestation of the spirit of 
revenge." She adds, — 

"I have just finished a little story called 'Forgive 
and Forget,' upon this idea. I am now writing one on 
a subject recommended to me by Dr. Beaufort, on the 
evils of procrastination : the title of it is ' By and By ' 
(afterwards 'To-morrow'). I am much obliged to the 
whole committee of education and criticism at Edge- 
worthstown for their corrections, criticism, and copjiug." 

Maria has something to say of the friends they 
met in England : — 


" My father visited his old friends Mr. Keir, Mr. "Watt, 
Dr. Darwin, and Mr. William Strutt of Derby. ... He 
paid his respects to his friend Sir Josejih Banks, attended 
the meetings of the Royal Society, and met various old 
acquaintance, whom he had formerly known abroad. 

"Among the friends he formed during this summer in 
England, and in consequence of the publication of his 
sentiments on education, was Mrs. Barbauld. Her writ- 
ings he had long admired for their classical strength and 
elegance, for their high and true tone of moral and reli- 
gious feeling, and for their practically useful tendency. 
She gratified him liy accepting an invitation to pass some 
time with us at Clifton ; and ever afterwards, though at 
a great distance from each other, her constant friendship 
for him was a source of great pleasure and just pride." 

Mrs. Edgeworth says, — 

" We met at Clifton Mr. and Mrs. Barbauld. He was 
an amiable and benevolent man, so eager against the 
slave-trade that when he drank tea with us he alwa3'S 
brought some East-India sugar, that he might not share 
our wickedness in eating that made by the negro slave. 
Mrs. Barbauld, whose ' Evenings at Home ' had so much 
delighted Maria and her father, was very pretty, and con- 
versed with great ability in admirable language." 

That was a spicy argument, we can fancy, between 
Mr. Edgeworth and his new friend, Mrs. Barbankl, 
where she objected to the chapter on " Servants " in 
"Practical Education." On this chapter Mrs. Bar- 
bauld very truly remarked, that it was impracticable : 
in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, morally and 
physically impossible. She was willing to allow 
that in his own family he might have been able to 


carry this method into practice, but in an ordinary 
family it could not be done. Mr. Edge worth was 
forced to acknowledge that Mrs. Barbauld was right 
in her criticism, and he modified his views on this 
subject. Mrs. Barbauld considered, too, that this 
manner of separating children entirely from servants 
tended "to foster pride and perhaps ingratitude." 
" The one and twenty other good reasons " she said 
could be given, Mr, Edgeworth spared her. The 
fact must be admitted, that in the clear and spright- 
ly wit and strong mind of the essayist, poet, and 
accomplished school-mistress of Palgrave, — Mrs. 
Barbauld, — the Irish inventor, author, and man 
of the world met his match. He had probably 
never seen a finer mind, joined with a more brilliant 
wit, than that of Mrs. Barbauld. He had met men 
of science, and women of letters and fashion ; but 
in Mrs. Barbauld he met an antagonist of mettle. 
Early training and classic studies had added keen 
weapons to a naturally strong mind, and thorough 
acquaintance with practical methods of educating 
and developing young intellects made her an author- 
ity on such matters. Mrs. Barbauld's reputation rests 
as much on the names of such pupils as Lord Den- 
man, William Taylor of Norwich, Sir William Gell, 
Basil, Lord Daer, and other well-known men, as on her 
essays, poems, and books for the young. Her books 
for children are still unrivalled, and will do honor to 
her name as long as the English language lasts. No 
better work has been done for the little ones. 

While Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth were at Clifton, 
where her first child, Fannj-, was born, they were 


visited by her brothers, the Rev. William Beaufort, 
and Capt. Francis Beaufort, afterwards admiral and 
hydrographer to the navy. Maria wrote of him 
in 1828 to Capt. Basil Hall, "He is so true, and 
so really friendly and able." M. Arago told her 
at Chamouni that Capt. Beaufort's "Karamania," 
then a celebrated and new book, "was, of all the 
books of travel he had seen, that which he admired 
the most: it must remain a standard book." He 
became more nearly connected with the Edgeworths 
later; for when his first wife, daughter of Capt. 
Le Stock Wilson, died, he presently married for his 
second wife a daughter of Mr. Edgeworth by his 
third wife. Maria says that her father became very 
much attached to Capt. Beaufort, as much so "as 
he had ever been to Lord Longford or Mr. Day." 

In a letter of Mrs. Edgeworth, dated May, 1799, 
from Clifton, she mentions a future philosopher in 
the assistant of Dr. Beddoes, "a young man, a 
Mr. Davy," ^ and his discovery of nitrous-oxide gas, 
and describes the sensations produced by inhaling it. 
Dr. and Mrs. Beddoes made the Edgeworths' stay at 
Clifton very agreeable. Mrs. Edgeworth says, — 

"Her grace, genius, vivacity, and kindness, and Ms 
great abilities, knowledge, and benevolence, rendered 
their house extremely pleasant." 

Sir Humphry Davy said of Dr. Beddoes, — 

"He is one of the most original men I ever saw, — 
uncommonly short and fat, with little elegance of manners, 

1 Sir Humphry Davy, distinguished chemist and philosopher. 
Born at Penzance in 1778; died at Geneva, 1829, 


and nothinp; clinracteristic externally of genius or science ; 
cxtrenicl}' silent, and, in a few woixls, a bad companion. 
Mrs. Beddoes is the reverse of Dr. Beddoes, — extremely 
cheerful, gay, and witty. She is one of the most pleas- 
ant women I ever met with." 

The Pneumatic Institution must have been an 
amusing place, with its experiments on gases, and the 
new hobbies in which Dr. Beddoes indulged himself. 
One was of carrying cows into invalids' bedrooms, 
that they might inhale the breath of the animal. 
One family were turned out of their lodgings be- 
cause " the people of the house would not admit the 
cows. They said they had not built and furnished 
their rooms for the hoofs of cattle ! " Well might 
Sir Humphry Davy, in considering the character of 
Dr. Beddoes, call him " a truly remarkable man, but 
more admirably fitted to promote inquiry than to 
conduct it." 

Robert Southey, in alluding to his own intimacy 
with Davy at Bristol, "then in the flower and fresh- 
ness of his youth," speaks of his visits to him at tlie 
Pneumatic Institution, and his discovery of nitrous- 
oxide gas. He "was a first-rate man," and "has 
actually invented a new pleasure " in this gas, " for 
which language has no name." He said Dr. Beddoes 
" advertised, at least six weeks ago, certain cases of 
consumption treated in cow-houses; and the press 
has been standing still now in expectation of — what 
think you ? Only waiting till the patients be cured." 

After leaving Clifton, the Edgeworths went to 
London for a few weeks. At this time Maria's 
publisher, Johnson the bookseller, was in prison 


for a publication which was considered treasonable. 
Mr. Edgeworth and Maria went to see him in tlie 
King's Bench (prison). She "had a great regard 
for Johnson, though his procrastination tried her 
patience in all the business of printing and publish- 
ing her works. She thought him a generous, able, 
kind-hearted man, and an excellent critic." 

Joseph Johnson, of St. Paul's Churchyard, was a 
man of considerable ability. He was the person who 
first saw the merits of Cowper's poems, and accepted 
them, after several other publishers had rejected 
them with something like scorn. " His own taste 
was excellent, and his own disposition quiet and 
peaceable : but he became too much connected with 
Godwin and Holcroft; and it was afterwards a dis- 
advantage to ' Maria ' that her works were published 
by the printer of what was considered seditious and 
sectarian books." 

During this stay in England, Maria met Dr. Dar- 
win. She thought him "not only a first-rate genius, 
but one of the most benevolent, as well as the witti- 
est, of men. He stuttered, but far from lessening the 
charm of conversation." She used to say that " the 
hesitation and slowness with which his words came 
forth added to the effect of his humor, and showed 
good sense." They returned to Ireland in Septem- 
ber of 1799, after a successful visit in England. Mr. 
Edgeworth, in writing to Dr. Darwin, says, " JNIaria 
continues writing for children, under the persuasion 
that she cannot be employed more serviceably." 

In a letter of 1800 from Maria to her aunt, Mrs. 
Ruxton, she mentions " Castle Rackrent," which was 

"BELINDA." 141 

published in this year, and begs lier aunt not to 
"toll any one that it is ours." Maria attempted 
about this time to make a visit to her father's friend, 
Mr. Foster, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, 
at CoUon. She had visited Castle Saunderson ; and 
arriving at Allenstown, where Mr. Waller, an uncle 
of Mrs. Edgeworth's, lived, they found that Mrs. 
Foster, widow of Bishop Foster, feared infection, as 
they had left fever in Edgeworthstown : they " per- 
formed quarantine for a week " in Allenstown, and 
gave up the visit to Collon. 

An octavo edition of " Practical Education " came 
out at Christmas of this year. These were busy 
years for Maria. A new edition of the "Moral 
Tales " came out shortly after this. Maria says two 
of the frontispieces were designed by Mrs. Edge- 
worth for this edition, and two by Charlotte Edge- 
worth. In this edition there were three new stories, 
— "The Knapsack," "The Prussian Vase," and 
" Angelina." 

" Belinda " appeared first in 1801. Maria was at 
Black Castle when the first copy reached her. It is 
easy to fancy that the wit and humor displayed in 
her writings were not confined to her books. She 
dearly enjoyed a joke, and contrived, before her 
aunt knew it, to tear out the title-pages of the three 
volumes ; and her aunt read it without any suspicion 
as to the authorship, and, excessively entertained 
and delighted, she insisted on Maria's listening to 
passage after passage as she went on. Maria affected 
to be deeply interested in some book she held in her 
hand ; and when Mrs. Ruxton exclaimed, " Is not that 


admirably written ? " Maria coldly replied, " Admira- 
bly read^ I think ; " and then her aunt, as if she had 
said too much, added, " It may not be so very good, 
but it shows just the sort of knowledge of high life 
which people have who live in the world." Then, 
again and again, she called upon Maria for her sym- 
pathy, till, quite provoked by her faint acquiescence, 
she at last accused her of being envious. " I am 
sorry to see my little Maria unable to bear the praise 
of a rival author." This was too much for poor 
Maria, who burst into tears, and, showing her aunt 
the titlepages, she declared herself the author. But 
Mrs. Ruxton was not pleased : she never liked " Be- 
linda" afterwards; and Maria, too, had a painful 
recollection of her aunt's suspecting her of being 

" Castle Rackrent " and " Belinda " made a great 
impression on the reading public. " Castle Rack- 
rent" had soon a Continental reputation, and was 
translated into several foreign languages. Its wit, 
humor, and pathos, its Irish characters, its evident 
vraisembla7ice, the entire novelty of the scenes and the 
customs, the life in Ireland, — all made it a marked 
book. It was safe to predict that the hand which 
drew the character of Thady, and the adventures of 
" Castle Rackrent," would do the best of work for 
many years. "Belinda" was a clever book, full of 
fine pictures of English life of that period, and gen- 
uine bits of character. The heroine, Belinda, is 
well contrasted with Lady Delacour; and Clarence 
Hervey is a bright and sparkling wit. "Belinda" 
lacks the humor of " Castle Rackrent," and has not 

" BELINDA." 143 

the brilliancy of "Ennui," or some of the shorter 
tales ; bnt it has a charm quite its own, and will 
often be quoted, and may well be read by every 
young woman for its many admirable hints as to 
social affairs. 

In the autobiography of Mrs. Fletcher of Edin- 
burgh, we have a mention of " Belinda : " — 

"I well remember, after the fatigues of sight-seeing, 
the pleasure and refreshmeut I had at our lodging in 
reading Miss Edgeworth's admirable novel, ' Belinda.' 
Some of tlie hours so spent were among the pleasantest 
of our London visit." 

In 1801 a second edition of "Castle Rackrent" 
was published, and the name of Maria Edgeworth 
appeared on its titlepage. 

"Its success was so triumphant that some one — I 
heard his name at the time, but do not now remember it, 
and it is better forgotten — not only insisted that he was 
the author, but actually took the trouble to copy out sev- 
eral pages with corrections and erasures, as if it was his 
original manuscript." 

This is not an unusual experience with successful 

Miss Edgeworth, acknowledging some communi- 
cation from Ann Taylor ^ (afterwards Mrs. Gilbert), 
who was the author of many excellent and valuable 
poems and pieces in prose for little children, writes 
her : — 

""Whenever I have an opportunity of adding to ' Par- 

1 Ann and Jane Taylor of Ongar, authors of Origiual Poems 
and Nursery Rhymes, Hymns for Infant Minds, etc. 


ent's Assistant,' or to ' Early Lessons,' 1 will avail my- 
self of your suggestions, and endeavor, as you judiciously 
recommend, to ridicule the garrulity, without checking 
the open-heartedness, of childhood. My ' Little Rosa- 
mond,' who perhaps has not the honor of being known 
to you, is sufficiently garrulous ; but she is rather what the 
French call ' une petite raisonneuse' than what you call a 
'chatter-box.' Miss Larolles, in 'Cecilia,' is a perfect 
picture of a chatter-box arriced at years of discretion. I 
wish I could draw Miss Larolles in her childhood. 

"In a book called 'Original Poems for Children,' 
there is a pretty little poem, 'The Chatter-box,' which 
one of my little sisters, on hearing your letter, recollected. 

It is signed Ann T . Perhaps, madam, it may be 

written by you ; and it will give you pleasure to hear that 
it is a favorite with four good talkers of nine, six, live, 
and four years old." 

In 1802 appeared the "Essay on Irish Bulls," 
which excited much interest: it was the joint pro- 
duction of Maria and her father. A curious story 
is tokl of a gentleman who was much interested in 
improving the breed of Irish cattle. He sent, on 
seeing the advertisement, for this work on "Irish 
Bulls." He was surprised by the appearance of the 
classical bull at the top of the first page, which had 
been designed by Mrs. Edgeworth from a gem ; and 
when he began to read the book, he threw it away 
in utter disgust : he had purchased it in good faith, 
as secretary of the Irish Agricultural Society. 

" Among the foreigners who came to England 
about this time was Professor Picteti of Geneva" 

1 Marc Auguste Pictet, naturalist and philosopher, president of 
the Society for the Advancement of the Arts, at Geneva. 1752-1825. 

M. PICTET. 145 

says jNIaria. This gentleman was a "brother of tlie 
editor of the ' Journal Britannique,' wlio translated 
'Practical Education,' and with whom my father 
had had some correspondence on the subject. Pro- 
fessor Pictet visited Ireland, and came to Edgeworths- 
town." He was accompanied by his friend M. Chd- 
nier, and they visited INIr. Tuite of Sonna. They 
went from Sonna to the Edgeworths; and, after their 
return to Geneva, Professor Pictet wrote a description 
of his days there. " The Bibliotheque Britannique " 
contains much the same account of the family, with 
translated extracts from Maria's works : these ex- 
tracts were of such a nature as to greatly interest 
Continental readers. iNI. Pictet's ^ " Voyage de Trois 
Mois en Angleterre " was published at Geneva in 
1802. I have translated the portion concerning the 
Edgeworths, as it will interest the reader : — 

"At last we arrived. Mr. Edgeworth was found on 
his doorstep, and received us on alighting, and called us 
each by name. Farewell, then, to my little ruse ; and I 
am unaware of my betrayer. We are instantly on the 
footing of old friends. I saw, on entering the room, a 
large party about the table at tea, which, however, was 
only the famil}", who made a place for us ; and I tried to 
make out which of the assemblage was the celebrated 
Maria. Mr. Edgeworth saw what I was about, and re- 
marked, ' I see very well that it is not on my account 
alone that you have come here. Perhaps even Maria has 
the precedence of her father in 3'our estimation. I will 
not dispute it. But to punish you, you must learn that 
she is thirty miles away from here, and that you cannot 

1 A three-mouths' journey in England, Scotland, and Ireland dur- 
ing the summer of year IX. (1801), by Marc Auguste Pictet. 


see her to-day. But remain with us until to-morrow. I 
will send a messenger to her immediately. She can take 
the coach to-night, and arrive here before to-morrow 
noon.' — 'Impossible. We are engaged to return to 
Sonna to a large dinner.' — 'Oh, well! promise me to 
return again to-morrow, and I promise you shall see her 
then.' We did not hesitate to accept the compromise : 
the messenger departed, and three too rapid hours for us 
passed in the company of this interesting family. 

Mr. Edgeworth is, I believe, about sixty years old, and 
appears to be yet in the prime of life. He is extremely 
active in body and mind. He has had seventeen children 
by four wives, the last of which is some years younger 
than his well-beloved daughter Maria. Ten of his chil- 
dren are living, and an eleventh is expected in a few 
months. One sees in the hall the portraits of these four 
wives ; and an appearance of perfect union, friendship, and 
mtelligence seems to reign among their children : which 
is pleasing, and is a proof in favor of Mr. Edgeworth's 
principles of education, and shows his talent for conduct- 
ing his household. A characteristic of this family made 
itself known immediately. This was reasonable curiosity, 
which allowed one at a time to listen to and examine with 
interest all that which gave an occasion to acquire new 
ideas. 1 had brought that little sextant which 1 have 
spoken to you about, with the intention of showing it 
to Mr. Edgeworth. He had no sooner examined it than 
he explained very fully the structure and use to Mme. 
Edgeworth. She showed it to the oldest child, this one to 
a younger brother, who was not the least intelligent of the 
family, etc. I was not free from uneasiness in seeing so 
delicate an instrument pass from hand to hand, but it 
returned without accident. 

' ' We spoke of Maria, who appeared to me to be ap- 

M. riCTET's VISIT. 147 

preciated in the family. In this same room was the little 
table on which she wrote her charming works, in the 
midst of the conversation and noise of her brothers and 
sisters. She has ah-eady published the pretty romance 
of 'Belinda.' A little volume will soon be translated, 
entitled 'The Castle Rackrent,' in which she made a 
point principally of painting the manners, habits, and 
also the idiom of the Irish, by making an old steward of W 
a certain castle relate the history of four families who 
had successively occupied it. The bright and inimitable 
naivete of the language which she makes this man use, 
the mistakes and absurdities which he makes without 
suspecting it, his species of pleasantries, — all these go 
to make a whole, which, though hardly capable of being 
translated, is still full of wit and gayety. ' Do you wish 
to see the original of this good Thady that has made you 
laugh ? ' said Mr. Edgeworth to us. ' I will make him 
known to you.' He called a head servant, who over- 
looked the haymakers in the fields, and asked him in our 
presence several questions upon the objects of his stor}', 
to which we had the pleasure of listening. ' Have we 
not still in the house,' said he to him, ' that workman 
who has sometimes seen the fairies dance on the bowlino-- 
green?' — 'Yes, sir.' — 'Let him come here.' The 
workman appeared. ' Tell us, John, what you saw the 
other day.' — ' Sir, saving your presence, I was upon the 
roof, mending the tiles, when I saw them come one after 
the other. — ' Who, the tiles ? ' — ' No, sir, the fairies ; 
and they danced in a circle upon the turf. ' — ' But are 
you not mistaken ? ' — ' Mistaken ! I saw them as plainly 
as I now see j'ou, sir, and this honorable company.' — 
' And of what height were the fairies ? ' — ' They were a 
little shorter than my leg, sir.' — 'Ah! very well ; and 
how were they dressed ? ' — 'In truth, sir, I did not 


look much at their dress, but I noticed that they had on 
boots.' — ' Ah ! l)oots? ' — ' Yes, sir ; but they were little 
boots, inasmuch as I lost sight of them in the whirlwind 
of dust.' — ' You see, gentlemen,' said Mr. Edgeworth to 
us, ' that Maria has invented nothing in her " Castle 
Eackrent." ' 

" One of his sous, between the age of seven and eight, 
had struck us by his reflective air. ' I give you that for 
a good head,' said he (Mr. Edgeworth) to us: 'he w^ill 
be a geometrician ; he is always occupied with calcula- 
tions.' We then took a walk in the park. "We came 
across a bench, which had but three of the four legs 
belonging to it. ' There, William,' said the father, 'you 
see this bench which has only three legs : how would 
you trace a line on its surface, on one side of which 
one could sit with safety ? ' 

" The little man stopped in front of the bench, while 
we continued our walk ; and, on returning, we found him 
still there, but with his problem solved. He showed us 
the diagonal between the two feet which were farthest 
apart, which was the line in question. Two or three 
robin red-breasts flew near at our approach, jumping from 
branch to branch, as if they wished to follow us. ' You 
see these little birds,' said Mr. Edgeworth to us: 'they 
prove to you that our children do not torment them.' 

"We returned to the house ; and Mr. Edgeworth, who 
has the taste and intelligence of a mechanic, made it Very 
interesting to us by showing the interior, which is full of 
ornamental and useful inventions. Here we saw a clock 
with an escapement of his own invention, and which 
wound itself by the opening of the doort)f a neighboring 
passage, the one which was used most frequently in the 
house. There were some pullies, of simple and ingenious 
construction, for the spontaneous shutting of the doors. 

M. nCTET's VISIT. 149 

Near by, a door, in opening, donbled itself and fornicd 
a screen, by which one passage closed itself while anotlier 
opened. The posts of the beds shut down on each other, 
for facility in moving. The drawers of large bureaus 
ordinarily are, as one knows, dilticult to shut properly : 
these had under tlie middle of the l)ack a groove, which 
necessitated perpendicular action in the front, and made 
the drawer shut quietly and uniformly. One knows also 
that the English windows, if the sashes are joined too 
closely, are ditlicult to open, and that, on the other hand, 
they allow the air to enter if they are not closed suffi- 
ciently. Here the uprights of the windows and their 
grooves are made a little in an angle, which is highest at 
the back. A wedge in the middle fastens closely when 
the window is shut, and when it is slightly opened. 
When the window is wide open, it does not tighten it, 
and disagreeable friction is prevented. 

" Here is a little social theatre with turning side-scenes, 
very ingeniously arranged ; there, a rolling-mill for draw- 
ing the lead proper for setting their glass windows. In 
all the shutters are military arrangements ready to make 
cross-fire upon the brigands in case of an attack. I 
should never finish if I were to tell you all of them. 
Mme. Edgeworth has also her portion of talents. She 
draws and paints with great taste and ease. Her father, 
Mr. Beaufort, is a distinguished man. He has made, 
among other things, an excellent map of Ireland, the 
most recent and correct which has been made. Mr. 
Edgeworth, remarking that I examined it with attention 
and interest, forced me to accept it. I put great value 
on this gift, as this map is not to be bought." 

They then returned to Sonua for the next day's 
dinner, and — 


' ' The following morning we went to our rendezvous 
at Eclgeworthstown. (I have omitted to tell you that the 
castle is close to this little city, which sends a member 
to Parliament, who is, without doubt, always an Edge- 
worth.) They were breakfasting, as before; but Maria 
and Mr. Lovell Edgeworth, the oldest sou of Mr. Edge- 
worth, were this time at the table taking tea. I had, on 
entering, no eyes for any one but her. I had persuaded 
myself that the author of the work on education, and of 
other productions, useful as well as ornamental, would 
betray herself by a remarkable exterior. I was mistaken. 
A small figure, eyes nearly always lowered, a profoundly 
modest and reserved air, little exp4'ession in the features 
when not speaking : such was the result of my first sur- 
vey. But when she spoke, which was much too rarely 
for my taste, nothing could have been better thought, 
and nothing better said, though always tunidly expressed, 
than that which fell from her mouth. 

" What do you imagine was the first subject of con- 
versation started by Mr. Edgeworth ? 

"'To what degree do you presume,' said he to me, 
' that a gasometer can determine the pressure exercised 
on an elastic fluid ? ' I will not trouble you with the 
answer, nor with the chemical conversation which began 
and ended happily with the breakfast. We passed into 
the parlor. In the middle was a large table covered with 
papers, drawings, and cards. Some one took occasion 
to show me an apparatus, extremely ingenious and simple, 
thought of and made by the children of the house, to 
illustrate perspective, and which is described in the 
'Treatise on Practical Education.' I admired it. 'It 
is yours,' said Mr. Edgeworth immediately: 'will j^ou 
accept it as a remembrance of a family who are sincerely 
attached to you?' I accepted it with gratitude. We 


spoke of the little quarrel with my brother, who had 
reproached him with the omission of the subject of reli- 
gion in a work where it seemed natural to introduce it. 
He justified himself, first, inasmuch as he had showed in 
his reply the diflieulty of treating this subject in a coun- 
try where religion is not uniform ; and he made me read 
the most of a very explicit declaration of his opinion 
upon the propriety of applying religious ideas to other 
objects of education, which he had inserted in the pref- 
ace of the second edition of their work. We passed on 
to various moral subjects, in which I felt genuine pleas- ' 
ure in finding myself in perfect accord with the ideas 
of Maria, who followed and listened to me. She and 
her father regarded each other with an air of the most 
extreme surprise, that a stranger, coming three hundred 
leagues, seemed to have, so to speak, thoughts in com- 
mon with them. There were many questions about hap- 
piness, and particularly that of the lower classes of 
society. Maria told me that she had written upon this 
subject, the most interesting that one could treat of prac- 
tically. I gave them part of one of those little specifics 
for happiness with which I have sometimes entertained 
my friends, and which I have reason to believe are good, 
after my experience. I spoke to them of that serpentine 
curve with which I have always surrounded my life. Its 
axis is a horizontal line which represents sleep : above 
this, is the region of happiness ; below, that of misfor- 
tune. At the end of each day, in asking myself whether 
I would have liked better to have slept than watched, the 
reply that I make myself determines on which side of 
the curve shall be traced the order of the day ; and this 
order is made so much the longer as the remembrance 
of the means of pleasure or pain which remains to me of 
the day is more or less exalted. If any one will amuse 


himself by representing his life in this way, he will find 
that happiness will oscillate about the line with sufficient 
regularity to compensate him ; especially when one takes 
a rather long limit, — one year, for instance. 

" AVhile the ladies were making their toilets, we tried 
some chemical experiments with a small portable labora- 
tory which I had brought with me on my journey. We 
took a walk in the park, and then sat down to dinner. 
What a contrast to the dinner in the city! (Sonna.) I 
invited Maria to take up the pen upon this subject, and 
to strike with the sword of ridicule — which she wields 
with so much talent — the absurd so-called social consti- 
tution of the high classes*; by which, far from employing 
in these re-unions the faculties of each for the common 
advantage, and in particular to increase in each one the 
susceptibility of moral enjoyments, they place a damper 
on that noble flame of the spirit which distinguishes the 
intelligent being from the brute, and reduce one to the 
ignoble pleasure of simply eating and drinking, — to such 
enjoyment of self-love, almost always balanced by equal 
mortification, and to a little gossip, for compensation. 
The result of which is, that one compares that which can 
be produced by all the human faculties directed towards 
the highest sum of happiness with that which he pro- 
cures in return. But it must be, that in order to procure 
and keep such a maximum, society shall be recon- 
structed upon its base by education. It would make a 
sort of revolution to overturn that ancient and Gothic 
structure that is honored in certain countries by the name 
of civilization. Perhaps some spirits, wise and coura- 
geous, will arouse themselves, and, working together, 
bring al)0ut a gradual reform ; but it will not be that gen- 
ei-ation which will cull the fruit of their own labors." 

DR. dauwin's death. 153 

M. rietet concluded his account of Maria and 
the family with some words about Charlotte I^ldge- 
worth and the eldest son. lie returned to Sonna, 
and on his arrival in Geneva wrote this description of 
the Edgeworths. lie had urged Mr. Edgeworth to 
go to the Contment, promismg him letters of intro- 
duction to scientific friends in Paris. His advice de- 
cided Mr. Edgeworth to make a Continental journey, 
and they started in the autumn of 1802. They 
found the account of M. Pictet very useful to them 
on this journey, for " The Journal Britannique " was 
taken at every public library and in all the " ecole 
ccntrale;'" and they received many attentions in con- 
sequence of its pleasant reference to them and their 
literary labors. 

Dr. Darwin's death, which occurred April 17, 1802, 
came as a severe blow to the Edgeworths. His 
benevolent disposition, long friendship, and clever 
mind, all endeared him to them. He wrote Mr. 
Edgeworth April 17, and dating his letter " Priory, 
near Derby," describes their removal from Derby to 
the lovely spot called the Priory. He says, — 

"Allot us like our change of situation. We have a 
pleasant house, a good garden, ponds full of fish, and 
a pleasing valley somewhat like Sheustone's, — deep, um- 
brageous, and with a talkative stream running down it. 
Our house is near the top of the valley, well screened by 
hills from the east and north, and open to the south, 
where at four miles distance we see Derby tower. . . . 
Pray tell tlie authoress that the water-nymphs of our val- 
ley will be happy to assist her next novel. "... 


A few more words about the printing of "The 
Temple of Nature," by Mr. Johnson follow ; and 
then a sudden faint attack seized Dr. Darwin, who 
had risen early, and was writing, in ajoparently per- 
fect health. He died in about an hour after the at- 
tack. The letter so j^layfully written was concluded 
by the hand of a frieud, and sent to Ireland. 



The Etlscworths' Departure for England. — Places of Interest 
Tisiteil. — Maria visits Miss Watts. — France. — The Low 
Countries. — Arrival at Paris. — Mr. Watt. — The Edgeworths 
make many Pleasant Acquaintances and Friends. — French Sci- 
entific Men.— Dumont. —Lord Henry Petty. —The Delesserts. 
— Mme. de Pastoret. — French Society. — Madame d'Ouditot. — 
Literary Men. —Noted Women. —Maria's Works translated 
into French, German, and Spanish. — Police Surveillance.— 
Maria meets M. Edelcrautz. — An Offer of Marriage. — Her 

In the autumn of 1802 the Edgeworths' party, 
consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth, Maria, and 
Charlotte, set out for Enghand, on their way to the 
Continent. They were accompanied by Emmeline, 
who left them at Conway, and proceeded to the 
house of Mrs. Beddoes, at Bristol, where she was 
married to John King, a surgeon, afterwards quite 
distinguished. This gentleman, whose name was 
more properly Konig, was a native of Berne, Switz- 
erland. He was a very intimate friend of Dr. Bed- 
does, and associated with him in his experiments at 
Clifton. Southey, in writing John May in 1827, 
when Dr. King removed to Bristol, says, — 

" I would have you know King, the surgeon, also, 
with whom I have lived in terms of great hitimacy, and 
for whom I have a great and sincere regard. His wife is 
sister of Miss Edgeworth. A more remarkable man is not 


easily to be found, and his professional skill is very 

Southey wrote a Dr. King a letter in French, 
which is rather a curious production. It is addressed 
to -John King, Esq., Pneumatic Institution, Hot 
Wells, Bristol. 

" Ce matin-la pour le premiere fois, 1' invitation de M. 
Edgeworth a son chateau m'a trouve, c'est a dire, verbale- 
ment, par un jeune Irlandois, homme d'esprit et qu'est 
meilleur, bon democrat. Je vous prie faites mcs remcreie- 
meuts a Mme. Beddoes pour sa pere. Je suis verita- 
blement oblige et j'espere profiter par sa politesse desor- 
mais, peut-etre, mon ami, nous voyageons ensemble en 
Ireland. Des montagnes, des rochers, des sauvages, faut 
il plus a faire un Voyage Pittoresque meilleur que celle de 
votre ami M. Bourret qui a ecrit sur votre terre. 

[Signed] Je suis veritablemeut au fausse grammaire 
votre ami, Robert Southey." 

Maria says, — 

" Charlotte, who was then, according to the description 
of a celebrated foreigner, ^ jeune 2i<^i'sonne de seize cms, 
jolie, fi'atcJie comme la rose,' accompanied us to Paris. 

" In passing through England, we went to Derb}' and 
to the Priory, to which we had been so kindly invited 
by him who was now no more. The Priory was all still- 
ness, melancholy, and mourning. It was a painful visit, 
yet not without satisfaction ; for my father's affectionate 
manner seemed to soothe the widow and daughters of his 
friend, who were deeply sensijjle of the respect and zeal- 
ous regard he showed for Dr. Darwin's memory." 

They found " the servants in deep mourning, Mrs. 
Darwin and her three beautiful daughters in deep 


mourning, and deeply afllictcd." Tlie daughters of 
Dr. Darwin were celebrated for their beauty, which 
was an inheritance from their lovely mother. Fran- 
ces Waddington, afterwards Baroness Bunsen, in 
her recollections of her childhood, remarks on these 
ladies, "whose appearance is still distinct in my 
memory ; " and she adds that they " adorned in life 
the families into which they married, by merit equal 
to their beauty." 

On their way towards London the party saw Lord 
Penrthyn's slate-quarries at Bangor, the copper-works 
at Holywell, and visited the very interesting estab- 
lishment of Josiah Wedgwood at Etruria. Thomas 
Wedgwood, the son of Josiah Wedgwood, the founder 
of the celebrated pottery-works, was a friend of 
Dr. Beddoes, and assisted him pecuniarily, that the 
Pneumatic Institution might aid more poor patients. 
He also passed some time at the institution, in the 
vain hopes of relief from the inhalation of the various 
gases used by Dr. Beddoes in pulmonary diseases. 

Mr. Edgeworth called on Lord Moira at Downing- 
ton Castle, and was very cordially received by the 
son of his old friend Lady Moira. He gave him a 
letter to the Princess Joseph de Monaco, who was 
formerly Mrs. Doyle. 

Maria, in a letter to Miss Mary Sneyd, tells an 
interesting story of a visit made to a sister authoress. 
At Leicester, the party having heard of Miss Watts, 
a poetess who had 2)ublished a volume of poems 
and translated parts of " Tasso," went to visit her, 
ushered in by the enthusiastic bookseller whom they 
had visited, and who told them of her abode. 


" "When we had dined, we set out with our enthusiastic 
bookseller. We were shown by the light of a lantern 
along a very narrow passage between high walls, to the 
door of a decent-looking house. A maid-servant, candle 
in hand, received us. ' Be pleased, ladies, to walk up- 
stairs.' A neatish room, nothing extraordinary in it ex- 
cept the inhabitants, — Mrs. Watts, a tall, black-eyed, 
prim, dragon-looking woman in the background ; Miss 
Watts, a tall young lady in white, fresh color, fair, thin 
oval face, rather pretty. The moment Mrs. Edgeworth 
entered. Miss Watts, mistaking her for the authoress, 
darted forward, with arms — long, thin arms — out- 
stretched to their utmost swing. ' On, what an honor 
THIS IS ! ' each word and syllable rising in tone till the 
last reached a scream. Instead of embracing my mother, 
as her fii'st action threatened, she started back to the far- 
thest end of the room ; which was not light enough to 
show her attitude distinctly, but it seemed intended to 
express the receding of awe-struck admiration, stopped 
by the wall. Charlotte and I passed by unnoticed, and 
seated ourselves by the old lady's desire ; she, after mak- 
ing twistings of her wrists, elbows, and neck, all of 
which appeai'cd to be dislocated, fixed herself in her arm- 
chair, resting her hands on the black mahogany splayed 
elbows. Her person was no sooner at rest, than her eyes 
and all her features began to move in all directions. She 
looked like a nervous and suspicious person electrified. 
She seemed to be the acting partner in this house, to 
watch over her treasure of a daughter, to supply her with 
worldly wisdom, to look upon her as a phoenix, and — 
scold her. Miss Watts was all ecstasy, and lifting up of 
hands and eyes, speaking always in that loud, shrill, 
theatrical tone with which a puppet-master supplies his 
puppets. I, all the time, sat like a mouse. My father 


asked, '"Which of those ladies, madam, do you think is 
your sister autliorcss? ' — 'I am no physiognomist [in a 
scree ih] but I do imagine that to be the lad}',' bowing 
as she sat, almost to the ground, and pointing to Mrs. 
Edge^^orth. ' No : guess again.' — ' Then, that must be 
s/te,' Mowing to Charlotte. 'No.' — 'Then this lady,' 
looking- forward to see what sort of an animal I was, for 
she hat\ never seen me till this instant. To make me 
some amends, she now drew her chair close to me, and 
began to pour forth praises. ' Lady Delaeour, oh ! " Let- 
ters for Literary Ladies," oh ! ' 

"Now for the pathetic part. This poor girl sold a 
novel, in four volumes, for ten guineas to Lane." 

On their arrival in London, Mr. Edgeworth bouglit 
a large, comfortable travelling-carriage for their Con- 
tinental journey. They left England for Calais, 
where they landed the 4th of October, after a very 
rough and disagreeable passage. 

This is a picture given by Maria of their depar- 
ture from Gravelines for Brussels. They went from 
Calais to Gravelines, and there took Flemish horses 
for their carriage. 

' ' An equipage at which Sobriety herself could not 
have forborne to laugh. To our London coach were fas- 
tened by long rope-traces six Flemish horses of different 
heights, but each large and clumsy enough to draw an 
English wagon. The nose of the foremost horse was 
thirty-five feet from the body of the coach, their hoofs 
all shaggy, theh manes all uncombed, and their tails long 
enough to please Sir Charles Grandison himself. These 
beasts were totally disencumbered of every sort of har- 
ness except one strap, which fastened the saddle on their 


backs ; and high, high upon their backs sat perfectly 
perpendicular long-waisted postilions in jack-boots, with 
pipes in their mouths." 

To break the monotony of the road between 
Gravelines and Brussels, Maria had a book called 
" Un Voyage dans les Pays Bas, par M. Breton," 
and the story of Mile, de Clermont, in Mme. de 
Genlis's " Petits Romans," to read. She says she 
"never read a more pathetic and finely written tale " 
than the latter. Maria was always an admirer of the 
romantic and sentimental in literature, though accused 
by the critics of wanting those qualities in her own 
writings. In all her remarks about the works of 
others, this is noticeable, that she had a strong and 
just appreciation of pathos and imagination. 

At Bruges the Edgeworths met the librarian of 
the Ecole Centrale, while visiting that institution, 
and also a Mr. Edwards, an Englishman from Ja- 
maica. He was a friend of Mr. Brian Edwards, and 
well acquainted with Johnson the bookseller, and 
had met Dr. Aikin and Mr. and Mrs. Barbauld at 
his house. M. Lenet found them to be the Edge- 
worths described by Pictet in the paper in " The Bi- 
bliotheque Britannique," and was very attentive and 
courteous. They reached Paris after a pleasant 
journey, somewhat marred by the annoyance of a 
courier, who was very necessary at that day in Con- 
tinental travelling. Maria wrote that he might find 
something needed by them " if he is not drunk ; " 
which was, apparently, not an unusual coudition 
with him. 


On tlicir arrival in Paris, they took lodgings in the 
Rue de Lille. IMaria says of their Parisian life, — 

" Aftor a delightful tour through the Low Countries, 
we arrived at Paris, where we were to spend the winter. 
In the Hotel, Place de Louis Quinze, to which we drove 
on entering Paris, my father was fortunate in meeting his 
illustrious friend, Mr. "Watt. To him he owed an intro- 
duction to many foreigners of celebrity. Pictet had, as 
we found, in the most friendly manner, prepared the way 
for us at Paris ; and there he more than kept all his prom- 
ises of assistance, and of introduction to his numerous 
literary acquaintance and to highly cultivated and agree- 
able society. He was not in Paris on our arrival ; but we 
had, among other kind friends, in particular, the venerable 
Abbe Morellet.i 

. . . " M. de Prony,^ who was then at the head of 
Les Fonts et Chaus6es, showed him, in the best manner, 
all that to a well-informed engineer was most worthy of 
notice in the repository of that celebrated school, put 
him in the way of seeing every other invention, object, 
and person in the mechanical and engineering department ; 
but, above all, he felt grateful for M. de Prony's giving 
him so much of his own conversation, and for various 
indubitable proofs of private esteem and confidence. 

" Berthollet, Montgolfier, and Breguet gratified him by 
bestowing that gift, of which philosophers and men of 
science, occupied upon great objects, and independent of 
common society, best know the value, — their time. It 

1 Morellet, Andre. A celebrated abbe', born at Lyons in 1727. 
He wrote some works on i^olitical economy and statistics. Died ia 

2 Prony, Gaspard-Clair-Frani;ois-Marie-Riche de. Baron de Pro- 
ny. A distinguished Frencli mathematician. 1755-1839. 


was fit this period tliat we first became acquainted with 
our excellent friend, M. Dumont. 

"This gentleman, so well known by his conversational 
talents and his exquisite critical acumen, has entitled him- 
self to the gratitude of the literary and political world in 
general, and of Englishmen in particular, by the success- 
ful pains be has bestowed in arranging, elucidating, and 
making known to the Continent of Europe several valu- 
able English works, ^ — works which, notwithstanding their 
depth of thought and extent of views, would never have 
acquired popularity, if they had not been re-written in 
M. Dumont's clear and forcible style. 

"From the commencement of their friendship in 1802, 
my father continued to correspond with M. Dumont ; and 
we owe much to his critical advice and sagacity in all our 
literary pursuits and publications." 

M. Dumont, of whom the reader will hear much 
from Miss Edgeworth, was travelling with his pupil 
and friend, Lord Henry Petty. Miss Edgeworth 
met them at the house of Mme. Gautier at Passy. 
Pictet had described M. Delessert to the Edgeworths 
as a kind of " French Rumford." They found Mme. 
Delessert intelligent and agreeable, and their daugh- 
ter, Mme. Gautier, very charming. Rousseau wrote 
his "Letters on Botany" for this lady. He was a 
friend of the family. Francois Delessert, the second 
son, was educated chiefly by his sister, Mme. Gautier. 
Maria describes Passy as a "French Richmond." 
Mme. Gautier had " fine eyes, was very intelligent, 
and well dressed." 

1 Bentliam's Traite's sur la Legislation, and Theorie des Peines 
et des Recompenses, etc. 


Lord Henry Petty was to play a prominent part 
in the life of Miss Edgewortli, as a good friend for 
many years. The present generation of readers will 
remember him better as the INIarquis of Lansdowne, 
the amicus curicc of politics, and the very type of 
a mild and venerable Whig. He lived to be the 
Nestor of his party. This nobleman was the son of 
the first Marquis of Lansdowne by his second wife, 
a daughter of Lord Ossory. He succeeded his elder 
brother in the title in 1809. 

Lord Henry Petty was educated at the Westmin- 
ster School ; and, after passing there five years, he 
was sent to the University of Edinburgh. Lord Ash- 
burton and he passed much of their leisure at the 
house of the celebrated Dugald Stewart, then pro- 
fessor in the University. He also joined what was 
known as the " Speculative Society," and exercised 
his powers of debate at these weekly meetings. On 
leaving Edinburgh, Lord Henry was entered at Trin- 
ity College, Cambridge ; where he staid till 1801, 
when he took his degree of Master of Arts. By his 
father's desire he then started with M. Dumont to 
make a tour of the Continent ; but the peace of 
Amiens was too brief to allow time for this journey, 
and he returned to England that year. He was 
almost immediately nominated and elected to the 
family borough of Calne. After a year's silence he 
first spoke on the subject of Ireland. He showed a 
remarkable degree of information on political econo- 
my, and he was welcomed by the opposition as a 
valuable adherent. In 1803, when Lord Melville 
was charged with retaining sums of money in his 


hands as treasurer of the navy, and a violent party 
struggle ensued, Lord Henry distinguished himself 
by an exceedingly able speech, which made many 
consider him a rival of Pitt in oratory. At the 
death of Pitt, in 1806, Lord Henry was offered, and 
accepted, office as chancellor of the exchequer; 
and he was also elected by a very large majority to 
the representation of the University of Cambridge, 
over his opponents Lords Althorpe and Palmerston. 

On the death of Fox " the ministry of all the tal- 
ents " soon fell ; and Lord Henry lost his office, and 
also his seat in Parliament, by his consistent advocacy 
of the Catholic claim. The university elected Sir 
Vickary Gibbs by only two votes over Lord Palm- 
erston ; and Lord Henry was at the foot of the 
poll. He was, however, provided with a seat by 
the influence of the Duke of Bedford, and returned 
for Camelford, a borough so small that it figured in 
Schedule A of the Reform Bill. In 1808 he mar- 
ried his cousin, Lady Louisa Strangeways, daughter 
of the Earl of Ilchester. In 1809, on the death of 
the second marquis, his half-brother, he took his 
seat in the House of Peers. Lord Lansdowne con- 
tinued in the opposition till 1827, when he joined the 
administration of Mr. Canning, as secretary for the 
Home Department. The death of Mr. Canning, and 
the change which brought in the Liverpool cabinet 
and the Duke of Wellington, made Lord Lansdowne 
the leader of the opposition. His name is asso- 
ciated with many reform measures during the half- 
century in which he took active part in political 
affairs. The abolition of slavery, and the Catholic 


emancipation acts, had his heartfelt support. Tlis 
lubanity and courtesy to his political opponents won 
for him a large measure of esteem and regard. 

Under Earl Grey's administration Lord Lansdowne 
held the olTice of president of the council for nearly 
ten years, with a brief exception, — the period of 
the Duke of Wellington's short administration. On 
the formation of the Russell cabinet, in 184G, Lord 
Lansdowne returned to office as president of tlie 
council, and ably advocated the cause of national 
education. On the retirement of the ministers from 
office, in 1852, Lord Lansdowne took a dignified leave 
of official life, in a heartfelt address to the House 
announcing the dissolution of the Lord John Russell 
cabinet. He was often consulted by the queen, who 
was the fourth sovereign under whom he had held 
office. One cannot fail to )iotice the consistency of 
Lord Lansdowne's official life. Liberal views were 
his first and last care during a long political career ; 
reform measures had his earliest attention; and he 
■ lived long enough to see the successful result of his 

Lansdowne House, in Berkeley Square, was one of 
the houses adorned alike by the domestic virtues and 
social graces. Its master was early thrown among 
men of distinction in literature, politics, and art ; and 
he soon became the liberal friend and patron of art 
and literature. Of Lady Lansdowne there are many 
charming mentions in contemporaneous literature, 
which will be noticed later. 

Dumont, the remarkable tutor of the brilliant 
young Englishman, was to become the intimate friend 


and valued critic of Miss Edgeworth ; and the Gene- 
van pasteur himself became so prominent a man in 
literature that a little sketch of his life must be given 
here. Pierre Etienne Louis Dumont was born in 
Geneva in 1759. He studied theology; and, after 
preaching a while in his native place, he went to 
St. Petersburg, in 1783, where he took charge of 
the French Protestant Church. 

In 1785 he left Russia for England, where he 
became tutor to the sons of Lord Shelburne. He 
became very intimate with many of the Whig party, 
and with Sir Samuel Romilly he formed a close 

He had known Romilly early in life at Geneva, 
wlio spoke of Dumont in his account of his own early 
life as follows : — 

" His vigorous understanding, his extensive knowledge, 
and his splendid eloquence fitted him to have acted the 
noblest part in public life ; while the brilliancy of his wit, 
the cheerfulness of his humor, and the charms of his 
conversation, have made him the delight of every private 
society in which he has lived. But his most valuable 
qualities are, his strict integrity, his zeal to serve those 
whom he is attached to, and his most affectionate dispo- 

During the early years of the French Revolution, 
Dumont was in Paris, where he saw much of Mira- 
beau; and he has given the world much valuable 
information about that period, in his " Souvenirs 
sur Mirabeau et sur les deux Premiers Assemblees 
Legislatives," published in 1832, seven years after 

M. DUMONT. 167 

the writer's death. In 1791 Dumont returned to 
Enghind, and Ibrnicd an intimacy with Jeremy Ben- 

Bentham gave him his mannscripts, and he hibored 
long and patiently to elucidate and make available 
the immense material which the philosopher had 
prepared. The results were the various works of 
Bentham on legislation. Macaulay says of his indus- 
trious and unselfish work, in an eloquent eulogiura 
of him, in reviewing his " Souvenirs de Mirabeau," 
" Possessed of talents and acquirements which made 
him great, he wished only to be useful.'^ 

Hazlitt wittily says of this, Bentham's "works 
have been translated into French. They ought to 
be translated first into English." Sydney Smith also 
commented on Dumont's share in this; saying to 
Moore, that Dumont had brought out the obscurity 
of Bentham, and made it " clear and understandable." 
In 1814 Dumont returned to Geneva, and became a 
member of the representative council. He died in 
1825 at Milan. 

The Delesserts were visited intimately by the 
Edge worths, who found them most kind and friend- 
ly. Madame Delessert was the benefactress of Rous- 
seau. It was said he was never so good or happy as 
when in her society. To her generosity he owed his 
retreat in Switzerland. She was a woman of high 
character, and her salon was closed to those of whose 
conduct she could not approve ; though her acts of 
benevolence were many and wise. It is said that 
Berquin's " Ami des Enfans " records one of her 
charitable deeds ; but her own children could not tell 


Miss Edgeworth whicli story contained this episode, 
as she concealed it. 

Among the many friends they made in Paris may 
be named INlme. de Pastoret. This Lady, who was 
the original of " Mme. de Fleury," in Maria's story 
of that name, was preceptress to the princess in the 
ancient regime^ being appointed to that post in oppo- 
sition to the wife of Condorcet ; while M. de Pastoret 
was chosen preceptor to the dauphin. M. Pastoret 
was president of the First Assembly, and at the 
head of the king's council before the revolution. 
He alone was saved from the guillotine : the other 
four members perished in the reign of terror; he 
escaped by his courage and decision. The Marquis 
de Chastellux's speech best describes Mme. de Pas- 
toret, says Maria : " Elle Tia point d' expression sans 
(/race, et point de grdce sans expression.'''' Louis 
XVIII. made Count Pastoret a marquis, and he 
Avas afterwards chancellor of France. 

Mr. Ticknor says in 1818, — 

" She has natural talent, and lias cultivated herself 
highly. I have seldom seen a better balanced mind, or 
feehngs more justlv regulated." 

Mr. Ticknor again mentions meeting Mme. de 
Pastoret in 1837 : — 

" The Mme. de Fleury of Miss Edgeworth, This tale 
was founded on incidents in Mme. Pastoret's life related 
by her to Miss Edgeworth, to whom she was much at- 
tached. . . . De Fleury was not an invented name, but 
the name of an estate belonging to her, and taken as 


such by Miss Edgevrortb, whom she knows personally 
extremely well." 

In February of 1803, Maria made a skctcli for the 
story of "Mme. de Fleury," but did not finish it till 
long afterwards. The incident of the locked-up 
child was told her by Mme. Pastoret, to whom it 
had happened. The period of the Revolution was 
a frightful one for the Pastorets, but they learned 
much from this time of suffering and distress. 

Mme. Pastoret was a noble character, and she did 
much for the cause of education. She first estab- 
lished infant-schools in France. 

The Edgeworths visited much, and made many 
acquaintances among the various circles which gath- 
ered again in Paris after the return of the nobles. 
At the house of M. and Mme. Suard they met 
many eminent men and charming women. M. Suard 
w^as editor of the " Publiciste." Mme. Suard " Mr. 
Day paid his court to thirty years ago." 

At the house of the venerable Abbe Morellet, 
Maria met an old lady of note. This was " Mme. 
d'Ouditot, an old lady of seventy-two, — the 'Julie' 
of Ilousseau." She describes her as " shockingly 
ugly, and squints," but adds, — 

" I wish I could be such a woman at seventy-two. She 
told us that Rousseau, whilst he was writinp; so finely on 
education, and leaving his own children in the foundling 
hospital, defended himself with so much eloquence that 
even those who blamed him in their hearts could not find 
tongues to answer him. 

"Once at dinner at Mme. d'Ouditot's there was a 


fine pyramid of fruit. Rousseau, in helping himself, took 
the peach which formed the base of the pyramid, and the 
rest fell immediately. ' O Eousseau ! ' said she, ' that 
is what you always do with all our systems : you pull 
down with a single touch, but who will build up what you 
pull down ? ' I asked if he was grateful for all the 
kindness shown him. ' No, he was ungrateful : he had a 
thousand bad qualities ; but I turned my attention from 
them to his genius, and the good he had done mankind.' 

' ' I felt in her company the delightful influence of a 
cheerful temper, and soft, attractive manners ; enthusiasm 
which does not extinguish, and which spends, but does not 
waste, itself on small but not trifling objects." 

The Abb^ Morellet, at whose breakfast this con- 
versation took place, was a man of marked charac- 
ter. His high moral courage and consistent conduct 
throughout the trying period of the revolution gave 
him a place in the esteem and regard of his friends, 
which his learning and fine literary taste increased. 
He had a deservedly high influence in Paris. Mr. 
Edgewortli had made his acquaintance in 1772-73, 
when he was in France with Mr. Day. Maria was 
much interested in the abbd. She says that he 
seemed to enjoy his position among the younger 
people, whose society he frequented. " I hear peo- 
ple complaining of growing old," said he ; " but for 
my part, I enjoy the privileges and comforts, in short, 
the convenience, of old age (les commoditSs de la 
vieillesse).'''' This amiable, respectable, and respected 
old man, in some playful lines he wrote on his own 
birthday, declares, that if the gods were to permit 
him to return again on earth, in whatever form he 


miglit choose, he should make, perhaps, the whhn- 
sical choice of returning to this workl as an okl man. 

They met Camille Jordan,^ and M. Degerando.^ 
Jordan had, just before this, pubhshed a pampldet 
on the choice of Bonaparte as First Consul for life. 
This was at first condemned ; but, as the time was not 
ripe for Napoleon to declare himself as a complete 
despot, he alloAved the address to go unpunislied. 
At the home of Mme. Campan they met Mme. Re- 
camier, "the beautiful lady who had nearly been 
squeezed to death in Paris." JNIme. Campan pro- 
fessed to follow the principles of " Professional Edu- 
cation " in her great boarding-school, and later at 
the institution at Ecoueu, where the daughters of the 
ofiicers of the legion of honor were educated. Mme. 
Campan paid the Edgeworths "many compliments." 
Mr. Edgeworth was not greatly impressed with 
]\Ime. Rccamier. He says, " She certainly is hand- 
some, but there is nothing noble in her appear- 
ance. — She was very civil," he adds. They attended 
one of Mme. Recamier's salons, and found there "a 
strange melange of merchants and poets, philoso- 
phers, and parvenues, English, French, Portuguese, 
and Brazilian." Says Maria, " They also went to 
the opera with her." 

Among other notabilities they met Mme. Lavoi- 
sier; Gen. Kosciusko,^ "simple in his manners, like 
all truly great men," says Maria ; the Prince and 

1 Camille Jordan, French orator and statesman. 1771-1821. 

2 Marie Joseph de Gerando, French writer on education and 
philosophy. 1772-1842. 

3 Kosciusko, Polish patriot and leader. 1756-1817. 


Princess Joseph de Monaco ; and the Abbe Sicard.^ 
Maria visited the famous institution of the abbe for 
the instruction of the deaf and dumb, with the Pic- 
tets. At one of Mme. Suard's assembhiges of friends, 
they met the celebrated Lall3^-Tollendal, and the 
Due de Crillon. The Marquis Lally-Tollendal emi- 
grated to England with Mme. de Stael, and figures 
much in ]\Iiss Burney's account of the life at Juni- 
per Hall. Mme. de Stael called him " Le plus gras 
des Itommes se^isibles,'' but he was usually known in 
France, by his eloquence, as the French Cicero. 

Miss Edgeworth's pretty novel of " Belinda " was 
translated into the French by the Comte de Segur 
about this time. " Castle llackrent " was translated 
into the German. Maria saw an extract from 
"Castle Rackrent" in a French book. This gave 
the wake, the confinement of Lady Cathcart to her 
own house for many years, and the sweeping the stairs 
by Thady with his wig, as common and usual occur- 
rences in Ireland. While at a grand review in the 
Place de Carrousel, a gentleman came in " Avho had 
passed many years in Spain." Says Maria, "He 
began to talk to me about Madrid ; and, when he 
heard my name, he said a Spanish lady is translating 
' Practical Education ' from the French. She under- 
stands English ; and he gave me her address, that we 
may send a copy of the book to her." 

In a letter of Maria's dated " Steele reparateur^'' 
as Monge has christened this century 1803, she men- 
tions the fact that " Early Lessons " is being trans- 

1 Sicarrl, Roch-Aiubrose Cucurron, an emiueut teacher of the 
deaf aud dumb. 1742-1822. 


latcd into French on one side of the page, and 
English on the other. Oi" this translation she says, 
that "Didot has undertaken to publish 'The Na- 
tional Primer,' whii-h is much approved of here for 
teaching the true English pronunciation." This last 
was Mr. Edgeworth's book, written to explain and 
illustrate his method of teaching children to read. 

Maria, in describing the social life in Paris at this 
period, says that the soirSes begin at nine o'clock ; 
and cards, with all kinds of conversation, and a light 
supper, make up the evening's entertainment. 

' ' I have never heard an}' person talk of dress or fash- 
ion since we came to Paris, and very little scandal. A 
scandal-monger would be starved here. The conversa- 
tion frequently turns on the new petites pieces, and little 
novels which come out every day, and are talked of for a 
few days with as much eagerness as a new fashion in 
other places." 

She did not yet realize, after quite a stay in Paris, 
why gossip was suppressed, and the whole style of 
conversation was so carefully guarded. The '■'-patte 
de velours " of Napoleon was felt by the Parisians ; 
and, though sheathed temporarily, his talons were 
too evident to permit of any real freedom of thought 
or language. Before the close of these very pleasant 
months in Paris, she could have better explained 
the absence of any thing like a personal element 
in the conversation. 

Many of Miss Edgeworth's critics have thought 
her wanting in tenderness, and in the delineation of 
the power and influence of love on the human heart, 


iind its share in the events of life. It is not usually 
known that she was a person of the most affection- 
ate, warm-hearted, and tender nature. Her tears 
and smiles rose easily at any tale of distress or 
mirth, but she was not lightly or easily influenced 
by fictitious suffering. Her clear mind and culti- 
vated intellect gave her a strong control over her 
own feelings; but she was human, and vulnerable, 
as every true woman should be, to the influence of 
love. In Paris she met ofteii a Swedish gentleman, 
M. Edelcrantz ; and it was an offer from him which 
caused her to write as follows : — 

"Here, my dear aunt [Mrs. Ruxton], I was inter- 
rupted iu a manner that will surprise you as much as it 
surprised me, by the coming iu of M. Edelcrantz, a Swed- 
ish gentleman, whom we have mentioned to you, of supe- 
rior understanding and mild manners : he came to offer 
me his hand and heart ! 

" My heart, you may suppose, cannot return his attach- 
ment ; for I have seen but little of him, and have not 
had time to have formed any judgment, except that I 
think nothing could tempt me to leave my own dear 
friends and my own country to live in Sweden." 

To another relation she wrote, — 

"I take it for granted, my dear friend, that you have 
by this time seen a letter which I wrote a few days ago 
to my aunt. Vo you, as to her, every thought of my 
mind is open. I persist in refusing to leave my country 
and my friends to live at the court of Stockholm ; and he 
tells me (of course) that there is nothing he would not 
sacrifice for me, except his duty. lie has been all his life 


in the servioo of the king of Sweden, has places under 
him, and is actually employed in coUectiug information 
for a large political establishment. lie thinks himself 
bound in honor to finish what he has begun. He saj's 
he should not fear the ridicule or blame that would be 
thrown upon him by his countrymen, for quitting his 
country at his age, but that he should despise himself if 
he abandoned his duty for any passion. This is all very 
reasonable, but reasonable for him only, not for me ; 
and I have never felt any thing for him but esteem and 

Mrs. Edgeworth wrote of this event, — 

"Maria was mistaken as to her own feelings. She 
refused M. Edelcrautz, but she felt much more for him 
than esteem and admiration : she was exceedingl}' in love 
with him. Mr. Edgeworth left her to decide for herself ; 
but she saw too plainly what it would be to us to lose 
her, and what she would feel at parting from us. She 
decided rightly for her own futui'e happiness and for that 
of her family ; but she suffered much at the time, and 
long afterwards. While we were at Paris, I remember 
that in a shop, where Charlotte and I were making some 
purchases, Maria sat apart absorbed in thought, and so 
deep in revery that when her father came in and stood 
opposite to her she did not see him till he spoke to her, 
when she started, and burst into tears. She was grieved 
by his look of tender anxiety : and she afterwards exerted 
herself to join in society, and to take advantage of all 
that was agreeable during our stay in France, and on our 
journey home ; but it was often a most painful effort to 
her. And even after her return to Edgeworthstown, it 
was long before she recovered the elasticity of her mind. 
She exerted all her powers of self-connnaud, and turned 


her attention to every thing her father suggested for her 
to write. But 'Leonora,' which she began immediately 
after our return home, was written with the hope of 
pleasing the Chevalier Edelcrautz : it was written in a 
style he liked ; and the idea of what he would think of 
it was, I believe, present to her in every page she wrote. 
She never heard that he had even read it. From the 
time they parted at Paris, there was no sort of com- 
munication between them ; and, beyond the chance which 
brought us sometimes into company with travellers who 
had been in Sweden, or the casual mention of M. Edel- 
crautz in the newspapers or scientific journals, we never 
heard more of one who had been of such supreme interest 
to her, and to us all, at Paris, and of whom Maria contin- 
ued to have, all her life, the most romantic recollection. 
I do not think she ever repented of her refusal or regret- 
ted her decision : she was well aware that she could not 
have made him happy, that she would not have suited his 
position at the court of Stockholm, and that her want of 
beauty might have diminished his attachment. It was 
better, perhaps, that she should think so, as it calmed 
her mind; but, from what I saw of M. Edelcrantz, I 
think he was a man capable of deeply valuing her. I 
believe that he was much attached to her, and deeply 
mortified at her refusal. He continued to reside in 
Sweden after the abdication of his master, and was 
always distinguished for his high character and great 
abilities. He never married. He was, except very fine 
eyes, remarkably plain. Her father rallied Maria about 
her preference of so ugly a man ; but she liked the ex- 
pression of his countenance, the spirit and strength of 
his character, and his very able conversation. The unex- 
pected mention of his name, or even that of Sweden, 
in a book or newspaper, always moved her so much that 


the words and lines in the page boeame a mass of con- 
fusion hc'foie her eyes, and her voice lost all power. 

"1 think it right to mention these facts, because I 
know that the lessons of self-command which she incul- 
cated in her novels were really acted upon in her own 
life, and that the resolution with which she devoted her- 
self to her father and her family, and the industry with 
which she labored at the writings which she thought were 
for the advantage of her fellow-creatures, were from the 
exertion of the highest principle. Her precepts were not 
the maxims of cold-hearted prudence, but the result of 
her own experience in strong and romantic feeling. By 
what accident it happened that she had, long before she 
ever saw the Chevalier Edelcrantz, chosen Sweden for 
the scene of ' The Knapsack, ' I do not know ; but I 
remember his expressing his admiration of that beautiful 
little piece, and his pleasure in the line characters of the 
Swedish gentlemen and peasants." 

This is an exceedingly interesting passage ; because 
it does show clearly, as ]\Irs. Edgeworth says, that 
Maria was capable of the deepest feelings. Many 
critics have accused her of being cold, prudent, and 
calculating. Cold, the writer of " Patronage," with \^ 
the beautiful womanly character of Caroline Percy, 
could never have been. She was denied the happi- 
ness of the sweetest relations of domestic life : the 
tender joys of wife and mother were not to be hers, 
but it did cost her many struggles to give up bravely 
the possibility of such happiness. She showed so 
plainly by her lifelong devotion to a living father, 
and regard for his memory when gone ; by sympa- 
thetic interest in her own brothers and sisters, the 


many other children and the wives of her father, — 
what she was capable of feeling, that one cannot 
doubt her capacity for loving. She drew too many 
portraits of lovely women in all the relations of life, 
as maid, wife, and widow, to leave a shadow of uncer- 
tainty as to her genuine belief in marriage. It is 
hard " to look into happiness through another man's 
eyes," says Shakspeare. Maria did this all her life , 
and the wonder is, that she depicted so delicately, 
yet charmingly, the effect of love on so many char- 
acters. She does it admirably in " Patronage," where 
she contrasts the volatile Rosamond, under the influ- 
ence of the tender passion, with her high-spirited yet 
tender sister Caroline. Both love, and are wooed and 
won ; but how different the wooing ! how character- 
istic the sentiments of the lively Rosamond, with her 
vivacity and redoubled life, and the calm, deep hap- 
piness of the well-balanced mind and the sympa- 
thetic yet self-contained nature of Caroline ! While 
Rosamond is steadied and improved by her love 
for Mr. Henry, the noble nature of Caroline finds its 
perfect finish in the happiness of loving and being 
loved by Count Altenburg. 

When Maria painted Caroline Percy struggling to 
control what she supposed was a hopeless passion for 
Count Altenburg, she probably drew these pages 
from her own experience. The fate of her heroine 
was happier, however, than her own. Her lover did 
not return to her, and they never met again. 

LA HARPE. 179 


Maria visits La ITarpe. — Mr. Eclpeworth ordered to leave Paris. — 
Maria goes with him to PassJ^ — He receives Permission to 
return. — A Visit to Mme. de Genlis. — Rumors of War. — 
Departure from Paris. — London. — York. — Edinburgh. — Soci- 
ety there. — Dugald Stewart. — Dr. Alison. — Dr. Gregory. — 
Professor Playfair. — Elizabeth Hamilton — Maria's Enjoyment 
of Edinburgh. — A Visit to Glasgow on their Way to Ireland. 

Among other visits to notable people, Maria went 
to the house of La Harpe, the poet, with Mme. 
Rdcamier and the Russian Pnncess Dalgourski, to 
hear him repeat some of his own poetry. 

" He lives in a wretched house ; and we went up dirty 
stairs, through dirty passages, where I wondered how fine 
ladies' trains and noses could go, and were received in a 
dark, small den by the philosopher, or rather deoot, for 
he spurns the philosopher. He was in a dirty reddish 
night-gown, and very dirty night-cap bound round the 
forehead by a superlatively dirty chocolate-colored ribbon. 
Mme. R^^camier, the beautiful, the elegant, robed in white 
satin trimmed with white fur, seated herself on the elbow 
of his armchair, and besought him to repeat his verses." 

In another place she speaks of Mme. Recaraier 
as, " a graceful and decent beauty of excellent char- 
acter." Wlien, long after this time, her brother 
wrote her that he made Mme. Recamier laugh, by 
some remark of his, Maria replied, — 


"In my observation she never went beyond the smile 
prescribed by Lord Chesterfield as graceful in beaut}'." 

When Mr. Edgcworth was arranging in London 
for his Parisian life, he asked for, and obtained, a 
letter from Lord Essex, then lord chamberlain, and 
applied to Lord Whitworth, then English ambassa- 
dor at Paris, to present him to Napoleon. After a 
stay in Paris, he was convinced by various signs that 
Gen. Bonaparte, then First Consul, was carefully 
preparing his course for the usurpation of supreme 
power in France. This altered Mr. Edgeworth's 
feelings : he did not care to go to the court of the 
usurper. Though he was prudent in conversation, 
and in the friendships he formed and the houses 
he frequented, there was a system of espiojinage 
in Paris which kept Napoleon acquainted with the 
thoughts and speech of strangers as well as resi- 
dents. Mr. Edgeworth " could scarcely be brought 
to believe " in the existence of such a police-system, 
till lie was convinced by "well-attested facts pro- 
duced to him, and till he perceived the suspicion 
and excessive caution and constraint which the sys- 
tem spread over general society." This was the rea- 
son for the peculiar tone of conversation in the 
salo7is. INIaria did not fully comprehend the situa- 
tion of affairs in Paris, until seen in the light of after 

Mr. Edgeworth had no apprehensions whatever 
of attracting the police spies by either action or 
word ; but " he was one morning surprised by an 
order to quit Paris in twenty-four hours, and the 


French territories in fifteen days." Accompanied 
by Maria, he went to Passy. The following extract 
from a letter to Miss Charlotte Sneyd will tell tlie 
story of the mistake which caused his arrest. He 
described in detail all the particulars of his arrest, 
and the kindness of his friends, the Delesserts, Mme. 
Gautier, and others. It was true kindness, for it 
exposed them to the censure of the police for aiding 
a suspected person. Refusing all offers of help, 
fearing to compromise these good friends, Mr. Edge- 
worth went into lodgings at Passy. 

[To Mrs. Charlotte Sneyd.] 

Paris, Jan. 27, 1803. 

. . . We arrived at Passy about ten o'clock at 
night ; and, though a deport^, I slept tolerabl}^ well. 

Before I was up, my friend M. de P was with me, 

breakfasted with us in our little oven of a parlor, con- 
versed two hours most agreeably. Our other friend, F. 
D., came also before we had breakfasted; and just as I 
had mounted on a table to paste some paper over certain 

deficiencies in the window, enter M. P , and Le 

B n. 

'' Mou ami, ce n'est pas la peine ! " cried they both at 
once, their faces rayonnant de joie. " You need not give 
yourself so much trouble, you will not stay here long. 
We have seen the grand juge, and your detention 
arises from a mistake. It was supposed that you are 
a brother to the Abbe Edgeworth. We are to deliver 
a petition from j'ou. stating what j'our relationship to 
the abbe really is. This shall be backed by an address 
signed by all your friends at Paris, and you will then be 
at liberty to return." 


I objected to writing any petition ; and at all events, 
I determined to consult my ambassador, who had con- 
ducted himself well towards me. I wrote to Lord Whit- 
worth, stating the facts, and declaring that nothing could 
ever make me deny the honor of being related to the 
Abb6 Edgeworth. Lord Whitworth advised me, however, 
to state the fact that I was not the abba's brother. 

Maria says, — 

"In the evening of the second day of my father's 
hanishment from Paris, our friends informing Mrs. Edge- 
worth of the permission granted him to return, she came 
to Passy for us at seven o'clock in the evening. Late as 
it was when we got to Paris, he stopped at the English 
ambassador's hotel to tell him the result of the business. 

" At a public court dinner, at which Regnier, the grand 
juge, was present, some days after this affair, one of our 
friends spoke of it, and questioned him as to his real 
reasons. He declared he had none, but excused himself 
by saying that Paris was too full of strangers, and that 
he had general orders to clear it of la lie du peiq^le etran- 
ger; to which our friend replied that, ' M. le Grand Juge 
should, however, distinguish between la lie and V elite du 
jyeiq^le.' . . . 

- " The memorial which our Parisian friends drew up to 
present to the grand juge, stated ' that my father was a 
man of letters, that we were authors of a work on edu- 
cation well known in France, that he had lived, ever since 
he came to Paris, with literary society, totally uncon- 
nected with politics.' Some kind and highly gratifying 
expressions were added : several celebrated names of 
the highest respectability were subscribed. After the 
business was over, the memorial was put into my father's 
hand, and has been, and will be, carefully preserved by 


Ills family, as a testimony of the steadiness of our Pari- 
sian friends." 

The last important events of interest in tlic stay 
of the Edgeworths at Paris, after the arrest and 
release of Mr. Edgeworth, were a visit to the estab- 
lishment of Mme. Campan, where they saw many 
distinguished people, among them Hortense Beau- 
harnais, and Mme. Louis Bonaparte, the unfortunate 
queen of Holland, who was an 4leve of INIme. Cam- 
pan's. Racine's " Esther," and Mme. de Genlis's 
beautiful " Rosiere de Salency," were admirably 
performed by the pupils. 

" Full of the pleasure " received from seeing her 
play, ]\Iiss Edgeworth, though evidently strongly 
prejudiced against Mme. de Genlis,^ "was impatient" 
to pay her a visit before leaving. When in England 
Maria did not visit her, as the feeling against her 
manner of life was such, that, when Mr. Edgeworth 
took Maria's translation of " Adele et Theodore " to 
her at Bath, he meant to present its translator, Maria, 
also to her, but found " that she is not visited by 
demoiselles in England," writes Maria, in 1791, from 
Clifton to Mrs. Ruxton. But Maria was older now 
than she was then ; and, besides, she probably thought 
that at Paris she could do as the Parisians do ; and 
they went by special invitation one evening. And 
here is her own description of the difficulties and the 

1 Genlis, Stephanie Folicite, Comtesse de, born in Biirgnndj', 
1746; died in 1830. Notorious for her connection Avith Philippe 
!]6galite'. She educated Louis Philippe. She published numerous 
books on many subjects. 


final result, and her impressions of this notorious 
woman : — 

" She was living where Sully used to live, at the Arse- 
nal. Bonaparte has given her apartments there. Now, 
I do not know what you imagined in reading Sully's 
Memoirs : but I always imagined that the Arsenal was one 
large building, with a facade to it like a very large hotel 
or a palace ; and I fancied it was somewhere in the middle 
of Paris. Ou the contrary, it was quite in the suburbs. 
We drove on and on ; and at last we came to a heavy 
archway, like what you see at the entrance of a fortified 
town. We drove under it for the length of three or four 
yards in total darkness ; and then we found ourselves, as 
well as we could see by the light of some dim lamps, in a 
large square court, surrounded by buildings : here we 
thought we were to alight. No such thing : the coachman 
drove under another thick archway, lighted at the en- 
trance by a single lamp. We found ourselves in another 
court ; and still we went on, archway after archway, court 
after court, in all which reigned desolate silence. I 
thought the archways and the courts and the desolate 
silence would never end. At last the coachman stopped, 
and asked, for the tenth time, where the lady lived. It is 
excessively difficult to find people in Paris. We thought 
the name of Mme. de Genlis and the Arsenal would 
have been sufficient ; but the whole of this congregation 
of courts and gateways and houses is called the Arsenal, 
and hundreds and hundreds of people inhal^it it who are 
probably perfect strangers to Mme. de Genlis. At the 
doors where our coachman inquired, some answered that 
they knew nothing of her, some that she lived in the 
Faubourg St. Germain, others believed that she might be 
at Passy, others had heard that she had apartments given 


her 1">y frovcrnmcnt soniowhere in the Arsenal, but could 
not toll wlioiv. "While the coachman thus begged his way, 
we, anxiously looking out at him from the middle of the 
great square where we were left, listened for the answers 
that were given, and which often, from the distance, 
escaped our ears. At last a door pretty near to us 
opened, and our coachman's head and hat were illumin- 
ated by the candle held by the person who opened the 
door ; and, as the two figures parted with each other, we 
could distinctly see the expression of their countenances, 
and their lips move : the result of this parley was success- 
ful. AVe were directed to the house where Mme. de Genlis 
lived, and thought all difficulties ended. No such thmg : 
her apartments were still to be sought for. "We saw be- 
fore us a large, crooked, ruinous stone staircase, lighted 
by a single bit of candle, hanging in a vile tin lantern, in 
an angle of the bare wall at the turn of the staircase, — 
only just light enough to see that the walls were bare and 
old, and the stairs immoderately dirty. There were no 
signs of the place being inhabited, except this lamp, 
which could not have been lighted without hands. I 
stood still in melancholy astonishment, while my father 
groped his way into a kind of porter's lodge, or den, at 
the foot of the stairs, where he found a man who was 
porter to various people who inhabited this house. You 
know, the Parisian houses are inhabited by hordes of dif- 
ferent people ; and the stall's are in fact streets, and dirty 
streets, to their dwellings. The porter, who was neither 
obliging nor intelligent, carelessly said that ' Mme. de 
Genlis logecdt au seconde ct gauche, qiCil foudrait tirer sa 
sonnette." He believed she was at home, if she was not 
gone out. Up we went by ourselves; for this porter, 
though we were strangers, and pleaded that we were so, 
never offered to stir a step to guide or to light us. "When 


we got to the second stage, we faintly saw, by the light 
from the one candle at the first landing-place, two large 
dirty folding-doors, one set on the right and the other on 
the left, and hanging on each a bell, no larger than what 
you see in the small parlor of a small English inn. My fa- 
ther pulled one bell, and waited some minutes ; no answer : 
pulled the other bell and waited ; no answer : thumped at 
the left door ; no answer : pushed and pulled at it, — 
could not open it ; pushed open one of the right-hand 
folding-doors, — utter darkness ; went in, as well as we 
could feel ; there was no furniture. After we had been 
there a few seconds, we could discern the bare walls, and 
some strange lumber in one corner. The room was of a 
prodigious height, like an old playhouse. We retreated, 
and, in despair, went down again to the stupid or surly 
porter. He came up-stairs very unwillingly, and pointed 
to a deep recess between the stairs and folding-doors. 
^ AUez, voila la j)07'te et tirer la sonnette.' He and his 
candle went down ; and my father had but just time to 
seize the handle of the bell, when we were again in dark- 
ness. After ringing this feeble bell, we presently heard 
doors open, and little footsteps approaching nigh. The 
door was opened by a girl of about Honora's size, holding 
an ill-set waning candle in her hand, the light of which 
fell full upon her face and figure ; her face was remark- 
ably intelligent, — dark sparkling eyes ; dark hair, curled in 
the most fashionable long cork-screw ringlets over her 
eyes and cheeks. She parted the ringlets to take a 
full view of us, and we were equally impatient to take a full 
view of her. The dress of her figure by no means suited 
the head and the elegance of her attitude. What her 
' nether weeds ' might be, we could not distinctly see : but 
they seemed to be a coarse, short petticoat, like what 
Molly Bristow's children would wear, not on Sundays ; 


a woollen gray spencer above, pinned with a single pin l)y 
the lapels tight across the neck under the chin, and open 
all below. After surveying us, and hearing that our 
name was Edgeworth, she smiled graciously, and bid us 
follow her, saying, ' Mamam est chez elle.' She led the 
way, with the grace of a young lady who has been taught 
to dance, across two ante-chambers, miserable looking, 
but, miserable or no, no house in Paris can be without 
them. The girl, or young lady, for we were still in doubt 
which to think her, led us into a small room, in which the 
candles were so well screened by a green tin screen, that 
we could scarcely distinguish the tall form of a lady in 
black, who rose from her armchair by the fireside as the 
door opened. A great puff of smoke came from the huge 
fireplace at the same moment. She came forward ; and 
we made our way towards her as well as we could through 
a confusion of tables, chairs, and work-baskets, china, 
writing-desks and ink-stands and bird-cages and a harp. 
She did not speak ; and, as her back was now turned to 
both fire and candle, I could not see her face, or any 
thing but the outline of her form, and her attitude : her 
form was the remains of a fine form, and her attitude 
that of a woman used to a better drawing-room. I being 
foremost, and she silent, was compelled to speak to the 
figure in darkness: ' Mme. de Genlis nous a fait I'hon- 
neur de nous mander qu'elle voulait bien nous permettre de 
lui rendre visite, et de lui offrir nos respects,' said I, or 
words to that effect ; to which she replied by taking my 
hand, and saying something in which '-''cliannee ' was the 
most intelligible word. Whilst she spoke, she looked over 
my shoulder at my father, whose bow, I presume, told her 
he was a gentleman ; for she spoke to him immediately, as 
if she wished to please, and seated us iu fauteuils near 
the fire. 


"I then bad a good view of her face and figure: she 
looked like the full-length picture of my great-great- 
grandmother Edgeworth you may have seen in the garret, 
A'ery thin and melancholy, l)ut her face not so handsome 
as my great-grandmother's ; dark eyes, long sallow cheeks, 
compressed thin lips, two or three black ringlets on a high 
forehead, a cap that Mrs. Suier might wear, — altogether 
an appearance of fallen fortunes, worn-out health, and 
excessive but guarded irritability. To me there was 
nothing of that engaging, captivating manner which I had 
been taught to expect by many, even of her enemies : 
she seemed to me to be alive only to literary quarrels and 
jealousies ; the muscles of her face as she spoke, or as 
my father spoke to her, quickly and too easily expressed 
hatred and anger whenever any not of her own party were 

" She is now j^our devote acharnement. When I men- 
tioned with some enthusiasm the good Abl)e Morellet, who 
has written so courageously in favor of the French exiled 
nobility and their children, she answered in a sharp voice, 
' Oui, c'est un homme de beaucoup d'esprit, a ce qu'on 
dit, a ce qui je crois meme, mais il faut vous apprendre 
qu'il n'est pas des notres.'' 

"My father spoke of Pamela,^ Lady Edward Fitzger- 
ald, and explained how he had defended her in the Irish 
House of Commons. Instead of being touched or pleased, 
her mind instantly diverged into an elaborate and artifi- 
cial exculpation of Lady Edward and herself ; proving, or 
attempting to prove, that she never knew any of her hus- 
band's plans, that she utterly disapproved of them, at 
least of all she suspected of them. This defence was 
quite lost upon us, who never thought of attacking ; but 
Mme. de Geulis seems to have been so much used to be 

' Her daugliter. 


fittaekod that slio has defonoos and apologies, ready pre- 
pared, suited to all possible occasions. 

'• She spoke of Mnie. de Staiil's ' Delpliine ' with de- 
testation, of another new and fasliionaltle novel ' Amelie ' 
with ahhorrenee, and kissed m}' forehead twice because I 
ha<l not read it, ' Vous autres anglaises vous etes mo- 
destes ! ' 

"Where was Mme. de Genlis's sense of delicac}', when 
she penned and pul)lished ' Les Chevaliers du Cigne ' ? 
Forgive me, ni}' dear aunt Mar^^, j-ou begged nie to see 
her with favorable eyes ; and I went to see her after see- 
ing her ' llosi(ire de Salency ' with the most favorable 
disposition, but I could not like her : there was something 
of malignity in her countenance and conversation that 
repelled love, and of hypocrisy, which annihilated esteem ; 
and from time to time I saw, or thought I saw, through 
the gloom of her countenance, a gleam of coquetry. 

" But my father judges much more favorably of her 
than I do : she evidently took pains to please him ; and 
he saj's he is sure she is a person over whose mind he 
could gain great ascendenc}'.^ He thinks her a woman of 
violent passions, unbridled imagination, and ill-tempered, 
but not malevolent, — one who has been so torn to pieces 
that she now turns upon her enemies, and longs to tear in 
her turn. He says she has certainly great powers of 
pleasing, though I neither saw nor felt them. But you 
know, dear aunt, that I am not famous for judging sanely 
of strangers on a first visit ; and I might be prejudiced 
or mortified by Mme. de Genlis assuring me that she had 
never read anj' thing of mine except ' Belinda,' had heard 
of ' Practical Education,' had heard it much praised, but 

1 This observation of Mr. Edgeworth's shows quite clearly the 
intense egotism of the man. He cvidcutly scored this fact in favor 
of ilme. de Geulis. 


had never seen it. She has just published an additional 
volume of her ' Petits Romans,' in which there are some 
beautiful stories : but you must not expect another ' Mile, 
de Clermont ; ' one such story in an age is as much as we 
can reasonably expect. 

" I had almost forgotten to tell you that the little girl 
who showed us in is a girl whom she is educating, ' Elle 
m'ai^pelle mamam, mais elle n'est pas ma file.' The man- 
ner in which this little girl spoke to Mme. de Genlis, and 
looked at her, appeared more in her favor than any thing 
else. She certainly spoke to her with freedom and fond- 
ness, and without any affectation. I went to look at 
what the child was writing : she was translating Darwin's 
' Zoonomia.' I read some of her translation : it was ex- 
cellent. She was, I think she said, ten years old. 

"It is certain that Mme. de Genlis made the present 
Duke of Orleans such an excellent mathematician, that 
when he was, during his emigration, in distress for bread, 
he taught mathematics as a professor in one of the Ger- 
man universities. If we could see or converse with one 
of her pupils, and hear what they think of her, we should 
be able to form a better judgment of her than from all 
that her books and enemies say for or against her. I say 
her books, not her friends, and enemies ; for I fear she has 
no friends to plead for her, except her books. I never 
met with one of any party who was her friend. This 
strikes me with real melancholy, to see a woman of the 
first talents in Europe, who has lived and shone in the 
gay courts of the gayest nation in the world, now deserted 
and forlorn, living in wretched lodgings, with some of the 
pictures and finery, the wreck of her fortunes, before her 
eyes, without society, without a single friend, admired — 
and despised : she lives literally in spite, not in pity. 
Her cruelty in drawing a profligate character of the queen 


after the exeoution, in the ' Chevaliers du Cigne ; ' her 
taking her pupils at the beginning of the Revolution to 
revolutionary clubs ; her connection with the late Duke of 
Orleans, and her hypocrisy about it ; her insisting upon 
being governess to his children, when the duchess did 
not wish it ; and its iHjing supposed that it was she who 
instigated the duke in all his horrible conduct ; and, more 
than all the rest, her own attacks and ajyologies, — have 
brought her into all this isolated state of reprobation." 

The extremely unpleasant adventure of INIr. Edge- 
worth with the secret police of Paris, his arrest, and 
banishment from Paris for forty-eight hours, were not 
easily forgotten by him. The spring was advancing, 
the society was delightful, and his French friends 
begged him to make a longer stay with them. Be- 
fore the disagreeable affair of the arrest, he had been 
in treaty for a house formerly belonging to Garat, in 
what was then a most charming part of Paris, near 
the Jardins du Luxembourg : he had resolved to send 
for the children he left in Ireland, and live in Paris 
for two years, partly for the social and literary- 
advantages, and also for the excellent facilities of 
instruction from masters for his children. He was, 
however, fortunate in his decision to leave France. 
The arrest shook his confidence in the apparent 
peace : he had the foresight and caution to return to 
England in time to prevent being a detenu, as many 
foreigners were. His eldest son Lovell had the mis- 
fortune to be arrested, and he spent eleven years of 
exile in France : six years of that time were passed 
at Verdun. At the first rumors of war, Mr. Edge- 


worth wrote to warn his son of the impending dan- 
ger, but this letter was never received. 

Their good friend M. Le Breton, one of the 
officers of the INIint at the time, of whom Maria 
always spoke with affectionate remembrance, was 
the person who warned Mr. Edgeworth that war was 
approaching. In a call he made at their lodgings, 
he agreed with him, that, if the intentions of Bona- 
parte were hostile to England, he would that night 
on meeting them at a friend's salon, give him distinct 
information by suddenly putting on his hat. They 
visited their friend, met Le Breton, who suddenly 
clapped his hat on his head in an absent-minded 
manner, and Mr. Edgeworth profited by the hint. 
They left Paris as quickly as they could arrange 
after this. Le Breton had agreed, that, if any thing 
happened to change the determination, Bonaparte 
had expressed for war, he would write a letter, and 
conclude it with the following words : " 3Ies liom- 
mages a la cliarmante Mile. CliarlotteP If the hope of 
peace was not to be realized, and their return from 
London would be prevented, he was to omit the 
word " cliarmante^ He ended the letter, which for 
safety had not the slightest allusion to politics or 
affairs of importance, with '-'• 3Ies liommages a Mile. 
Charlotte;^'' and they left Loudon for Edinburgh 
without delay. 

Maria writes, — 

" On our return to England, wc beard sucli an account 
of the dechning health of my brother Henry, who was 
then at Edinburgh, as determined my father to go immedi- 


atcly to sec him, and to bring him home witli us to the 
milder elimate of Irehind. 

'•We went to Seothxnd in tlie spring of 1S03, fonnd 
Henry's health and sjjirits better than we had expected." 

The Edgeworths arrived in Edinburgh on March 
19, and passed several delightful weeks there. On 
their way from London, they staid at York a day, 
to visit the minster. Having received from Lindley 
Murray some new books through Mr. Johnson, the 
bookseller, they went to see him. Maria writes, — 

" We were told that he lived about a mile from York, 
and in the evening we drove to see him. A very neat- 
looking house, — door opened by a pretty Quaker maid- 
servant, shown into a well-furnished parlor, cheerful 
fire, every thing licspeaking comfort and happiness. On 
a sofa, at the farther end of the room, was seated, quite 
upright, a Quaker-looking man in a pale-brown coat, 
who never attempted to rise from his seat to receive 
us, but held out his hand, and with a placid, benevolent 
smile, said, ' You are most welcome. I am heartily glad 
to see you. It is my misfortune that I cannot rise 
from my seat ; but I must be as I am, as I have been 
these eighteen years.' He had lost the use of one arm 
and side, and cannot walk, — not paralytic, but from the 
effects of a fever. Such mild, cheerful resignation, such 
benevolence of manner and countenance, I never saw in 
any human l)eing. He writes solely with the idea of 
doing good to his fellow-creatures. ' He wants nothing in 
this life,' he says, 'neither fortune or fame;' and he 
seems to forget that he wants health. He says, ' I have 
so many blessings ! ' His wife, who seemed to love and ad- 
mire ' my husliand ' as the first and best of human beings, 
gave us excellent tea aud abundance of good cake." 


They readied Edinburgh without any remarkable 
adventures; and Maria, in continuing her narrative, 
says, — 

"To Mrs. Diigald Stewart's maternal care, and to 
Mrs. AHson's, we owe it, that Henry got through two 
severe seasons in Scotland, and that a few years longer of 
his life were preserved. 

"We spent some weeks with him, and among his 
friends at Edinburgh, in delightful society. The evening 
parties at Lothian House appeared to us (then fresh from 
Paris) the most happy mixture of men of letters, of men 
of science, and of people of the world, that we had ever 

. . . "Imagine the pleasure he felt at being intro- 
duced to them by his son, and in hearing Gregory, Alison, 
Playfair, Dugald Stewart, speak of Henry as if he actually 
belonged to themselves, and with the most affectionate 

"From the time he came to Edinbm-gh to the hour he 
left it,^ Henry was received at Lothian House, where Mr. 
and Mrs. D. Stewart then resided, as if he had been one 
of their own family." 

A sketch of the society at Edinburgh, at this date, 
would present a really remarkable combination of 
scientific, literary, and cultivated people. " Plain 
living and high thinking " were the order of the day 
in the beautiful old city of Edinburgh. The names 
of Dr. Gregory, Rev. Mr. Alison, and the intelligent 
professors of the university, among whom may be 
especially named Professors Stewart and Playfair, 

1 He went to Madeira some time afterwards, but he was never 
restored to health. He died at Cliftou in 1813. 

EDiNBunon. 195 

gave lustre to the society they frequented. The 
university numbered at this time about two thou- 
sand students, drawn from tlie best families in the 
United Kingdom. The French Revolution, and the 
wars which followed it, had closed the Continent 
against travellers and students, and swelled the 
ranks of the students at the Scottish universities; 
for the professors were men of note. 

Then, too, many of the northern-border county 
families, and the lesser nobility of Scotland, who 
were wont to make York their winter resort, beo-an 
to be attracted by the charms of the Scotch city. 
These were palmy days for " Edinboro' town." Al- 
ways romantically beautiful, Edinburgh became pre- 
eminently the home of genius and learning at this 
season of her prime. It will be remembered that 
" The Edinburgh Review " was not as yet in exist- 
ence, and Jeffrey was known only as a clever lawj-er. 

Sir Walter Scott still held the respectable office 
of writer to the signet, in common with many of his 
professional brethren. He was, however, beginning 
to be known somewhat among literary people by 
his translations of poetry from the German, and his 
edition of the " Border Minstrelsy." He had shown 
his powers of versification in the fine ballads of " The 
Eve of St. John," "Glenfinlas," and "The Grey 
Brother." Among these translations was that of 
Biirger's "Lenore." Mrs. Barbauld carried the ver- 
sion of William Taylor of Norwich to Edinburgh on 
her visit in 1794, and read the lines to Dugald Stew- 
art. He, in turn, recited what he could recall of 
these spirited lines to Scott. Sir Walter long after 


assured Mrs. Barbauld that this transhition first 
gave him inspiration, — made him a poet. It was 
not till 1805, that " The Lay of the Last Minstrel " 

Among the northern lights above the horizon, the 
names of the distinguished men already mentioned 
shone with brilliancy. Fair and clever women added 
their charms to the social atmosphere. Lord Cock- 
burn says of the society of Edinburgh, — 

"It was not that of a provincial town, and cannot be 
judged of by any such standard. It was metropolitan. 
Trade or manufactures have, fortunately, never marked 
this city for their own. The closing of the Continent 
sent many excellent English families and youths to us for 
education and for pleasure. The war brightened us with 
uniforms and strange, sad shows. 

" Over all this, there was diffused the influence of a 
greater number of persons attached to literature and sci- 
ence — some as their calling, and some for pleasure — 
than could be found, in proportion to the population, in 
any other city in the empire." 

The Edgeworths felt very deeply the kindness of 
the Stewarts and Alisons to Henry. They formed 
friendships at this time with the Stewarts, Alisons, 
Playfairs, Gregorys, and Miss Elizabeth Hamilton, 
which were life-long. Maria delighted in the society 
of these cultivated and friendly people. There were 
many others, Avhose names cannot be mentioned, 
who vied with each other in courtesy and friendly 
attentions to the Edgeworths. 

Mr. Stewart, during a considerable part of his 
career as professor in the University of Edinburgh, 


received into his house young men of rank and for- 
tune, whom the state of Continental affairs prevented 
from studying abroad. They were drawn to the 
university by the reputation it had acquired as a 
philosopliical and scientific schooL INIany of these 
young men were destined by their rank and talents 
to widely spread the influence of Dugald Stewart. 
Amon"' the numerous inmates of ]Mr. Stewart's liouse 
at various times may be named Lord Aucram (after- 
wards Marquis of Lothian), Basil, Lord Daer, Lord 
Powerscourt, Lord Ashburton, Lord Brook (Earl 
of Warwick), ]Mr. Ward (afterwards Lord Ward 
and Dudley), Viscount Palmerston, and Lord Tem- 
ple his brother. Among the students, the name of 
Lord Lansdowne, the friend of Miss Edgeworth, 
comes to the memory. Lord Webb Seymour, Sir 
Thomas Dyke Ackland, and Sir Robert Inglis may 
be mentioned. Sir James Mackintosh said truly of 
Dugald Stewart's lectures, that the peculiar glory 
of his eloquence rested in its having ''breathed the 
love of virtue into whole generations of pupils.'' 

The character and philosophical reputation of Pro- 
fessor Stewart rendered his house the resort of the 
best society of the city. 

' ' He exercised a remarkable ascendency over minds of 
the finer kind, but especially cultivated men in the higher 
gi-ades of society; of polished and courteous, but per- 
fectly unobtrusive manners, in an eminent sense the gen- 
tleman and the scholar, — his higher and less ol)vious 
accomplishments obtained a ready recognition in circles 
where, without adventitious aid, his iutiueuce would have 
been greatly less powerful. Mrs. Stewart, moreover, by 


her accomplishments, and a wonderful power of attaching 
friends, was fitted to become the centre of a brilliant 
circle. Their weekly re-unions, which happily blended 
the aristocracies of rank and letters, bringing together the 
peer and the unfriended scholar, were for many years 
the source of an influence that most beneficially affected 
the society of the capital. These meetings, moreover, 
embraced, even when political zeal was at its highest, 
men of varied shades of opinion ; and thus contributed 
not a little to soothe the bitterness of party feeling in 

Col. Stewart, in referring to this period, speaks 
in his memoir of his father's house, " as the resort of 
all who were most distinguished for genius, acquire- 
ments, or elegance in Edinburgh, and of all foreign- 
ers who were led to visit the capital of Scotland." 
" So happily," he adds, " did he succeed in assorting 
his guests, that his evening parties possessed a charm 
which many who frequented them have since con- 
fessed they sought in vain in more splendid and 
insipid entertainments." 

Maria was charmed with Dugald Stewart, and 
wrote, — 

' ' Mr. Stewart is said to be naturally or habitually grave 
and reserved, but towards us he has broken through his 
habits or his nature ; and I never conversed with any one 
with whom I was more at ease. He has a grave, sensible 
face, more like the head of Shakspeare than any other 
head or print that I can remember. I have not heard him 
lecture : no woman can go to the public lectures here ; and 
I don't choose to go in men's or boys' clothes, or in the 
pocket of the Irish giant, though he is here, and well able 


to can-y \m\ IMrs. Stewart has been for years wishing in 
vain for the pleasure of hearing one of her husband's 
lectures. ' ' 

Mrs. Dugald Stewart, says one who knew her 
well, " was a lady of high accomplishments and fas- 
cinating manners, — uniting to vivacity and humor, 
depth and tenderness of feeling. She sympathized 
warmly with the tastes and pursuits of her husband ; 
and so great was the regard of the latter for her 
judgment, that he was in the habit of submitting to 
her criticism whatever he wrote." 

For many years the Stewarts lived at Stewartfield 
House, in the neighborhood of Edinburgh ; and after- 
wards they occupied Lothian House and Callendar 
House. Both these houses were situated in the 
lower part of the Canongate. 

The name of Dr. Gregory, the kindly professional 
adviser and friend of Henry Edgeworth, recalls a 
family famous in the annals of science in Scotland. 
It is stated in Chalmers's " Biographical Dictionary," 
that no less than sixteen of this family have held 
British professorships. The name of Gregory has 
been distinguished in scientific research since the 
middle of the seventeenth century. The Dr. Greg- 
ory who was professor at Edinburgh at this time 
was James G. Gregory (the third). He was an able 
practising physician, lecturer, and the author of 
" Philosophical and Literary Essays." 

Professor John Playfair, who held the joint profess- 
orship of mathematics with Adam Ferguson from 
1785, and received the position of professor of natu- 


ral philosophy in 1805, was a man of great ability. 
Socially, also, he was agreeable. Lockhart, in " Pe- 
ter's Letters to his Kinsfolk," describes " this fine old 
Archimedes with his reposed demeanor," and tells 
how genially the great mathematician played games 
and jumped at Craig Crook with Jeffrey, Leslie, and 
others. The little owner, Jeffrey himself, was " quite 
miraculous, considering his brevity of stride." When 
Mr. Lockhart compared Professor Playfair to the 
peripatetic philosopher, he writes, — 

" He took what I said with great suavity ; and, indeed, 
I have never seen a better specimen of that easy hilarity 
and good-Iiumor, which sits with so much gracefulness on 
an honored old age." 

Jeffrey said of Playfair, that he " possessed in the 
highest degree all the characteristics, both of a fine 
and a powerful understanding ; at once penetrat- 
ing and vigilant, but more distinguished by the cau- 
tion and success of its march, than by the brilliancy 
or rapidity of its movements." 

In naming the friends made at this time, that of 
Dr. Alison, the brilliant preacher and amiable divine, 
must not be forgotten. He was a native of Edin- 
burgh ; and after a long residence in England, where 
he held several church preferments, — among others 
a prebendal stall at Salisbur}^, and the perpetual cu- 
racy of Kenley in Shropshire, — he returned to his 
native city, where he officiated to the great enjoy- 
ment and benefit of his hearers, in a chapel, for many 
years. He is now principally known by the memory 


of liis eloquence as an orator, and his "Essays on 
tlic Natures and Principles of Taste." 

Maria met in Edinburgh a very agreeable literary 
woman, — iNIiss Elizabeth Hamilton. This lady was 
Irish by birth, but a resident of the sister kingdom, 
with the exception of visits to Ireland. Miss Ben- 
ger, her biographer, says of her friendship with 
i\laria, it was " during this season (1803) Miss Ham- 
ilton became acquainted with Miss Edgeworth, who 
was introduced to her at Edinburgh, and with whom 
at the first interview she was pleased, at the second, 
charmed; proceeding in regular gradation through 
the progressive sentiments of cordiality, attachment, 
and affection." INIiss Hamilton made a three-months' 
visit in Ireland in 1813, and then went to Edge- 
worthstown. Miss Edgeworth, on her part, was 
pleased with Miss Hamilton, and "justly observed 
that sound good sense which so eminently character- 
ized Miss Hamilton's writings." Miss Hamilton en- 
joyed the gay and cheerful disposition of Maria. 
She " has truly observed, that she loved the young : 
she delighted to excite their smiles, and was ready 
to participate in their gayety." This was a delight- 
ful friendship. Miss Hamilton wrote several books 
intended for the young, and on the education of 
youth, besides " Letters of a Hindoo Rajah," " Me- 
moirs of Agrippina," and " Memoirs of Modern Phil- 
osophers." She found, that to live in " cultivated 
society, whilst it refines taste, inevitably circum- 
scribes invention." 

After leaving their hospitable friends in Edin- 
burgh, the Edgeworths visited Glasgow, on their way 


to Ireland, and made the acquaintance of Professor 
Young, who then occupied the chair of Grecian 
literature at that university. They went to Ire- 
land by Port Patrick, and visited CoUon and Mr. 
Beaufort on their way. They also made a stay at 
Mrs. Ruxton's. After they left Edinburgh, Henry 
wrote Maria of the disappointment felt by Lord 
Buchan, who was ill in bed, and made a great effort 
to go to a party where Maria was expected, only to 
miss her. She answered, on hearing it, that she 
hoped " he would never do so any more." 



"Popular Talcs."— " Emilie de Coulanges." — "Ennui." — "Leo- 
nora." — " GriseUla." — Maria visits Black Castle. — Reading for 
" Professional Education." — Maria has a Severe Illness. — Reads 
" The Lay of the Last Minstrel." — Visits at Pakenhani Hall and 
Castle Forbes. — "Leonora." — Visits to Friends in 180G. — Lady 
^lorgan. — " Kitty Pakenham." — Visits from Friends. — Death of 
Charlotte Edgeworth. — Coolure. — Library and Garden at Edgc- 
worthstown. — Disturbances among the Lower Classes. — A Nat- 
ural Curiosity. — Work on "Professional Education." — Publi- 
cation of this Book. 

After their return to Edgeworthstown, Maria im- 
mediately occupied herself preparing for the press 
" Popular Tales," which were first published in this 
year. She also began " Emilie de Coulanges " and 
" Ennui," and wrote " Leonora," with the romantic 
purpose " of pleasing I\I. Edelcrantz." Mr. Francis 
Beaufort, afterwards Admiral Beaufort, was at Edge- 
worthstown in 1804; and Maria was pressed into the 
service, in common with the rest of the family, of 
cop3'ing out the vocabulary used by him in his tele- 
graph, on which he was experimenting. But she 
found time to write " Griselda ; " on which she amused 
herself with working in her own room, without telling 
any one of her occupation. When she had completed 
it, she sent it to INIr. Johnson, asking him to print a 
titlepage for a single copy, omitting her name, when 
he published the edition of the book. This he did; 


and she had the pleasure of mystifying her father, 
without the unfortunate results of the same little 
joke which she played on Mrs. Ruxton, in allowing 
her to read " Belinda " as the work of an unknown 

The following letter to Mrs. Barbauld will show 
the friendly relations which existed between the 
Edgeworths and that talented woman. There was 
quite an interchange of letters between them after 
this time. 

July 22, 1804. 

My dear Madam, — I vill not trouble j'ou with any 
commonplaces about time and distance and friendship ; 
but taking it for granted that you are the same Mrs. Bar- 
bauld, and that I am the same Maria Edgeworth, who 
made acquaintance with each other in the year 1799, I 
proceed to mention a scheme of my father's. He thinks 
that a periodical paper, to be written entirely by ladies, 
would succeed ; and we wish that all the literary ladies of 
the present day might be invited to take a share in it. No 
papers to be rejected ; each to be signed by the initial 
of the author's name ; each to be inserted iu the order in 
which it is received. 

If 5^ou approve, tell us what would be the best method 
of proceeding. Would a paper in "The Monthly Maga- 
zine" put the business in train? "Why cannot you, dear 
Mrs. Barbauld, prevail upon yourself to come to Ireland, 
or rather, why cannot we prevail upon you? We do not 
pretend to diminish the terrors of sea-sickness, but we 
could hope to balance a few hours of pain by some mouths 
of pleasure. We are vain enough to feel tolerably cer- 
tain that you would be happy in the midst of a family 
united amongst themselves, who have, from their child- 


hood, licard the name of Sirs. Bavliaukl with respect ; 
and who, us they have grown np, have learned better and 
better to appreciate her merit. 

Mrs. Edgeworth and my father join with me in every 
kind wish for your health and happiness, and we hope we 
have not lost our place in good ]Mr. Barbauld's esteem 
and affection. Believe me to l)e, my dear madam, 
Your sincerely affectionate, 

Maria Edgeworth. 

Edgeworthstown, Sept. 23, 1804. 

My r»EAR Madam, — On my return home yesterday, 
I had the pleasure of 3'oiu- letter : my father would not 
forward it to me, but kept it, as he said, on purpose to 
increase my agreeable associations with home. It was 
indeed a great pleasure to receive such a letter from you. 
From the first moment that you professed a regard for us, 
I never could doubt of our holding a place in your esteem, 
so long as we remained unchanged ; but, notwithstanding 
the steadiness of this belief, it was delightful to me to 
receive assurances, under your own hand and seal, that I 
was in the right. The freedom and affectionate warmth 
of your letter were peculiarly grateful to me ; and though 
the praise you bestow on some of our works may be far 
beyond what your cool judgment would allow, yet I am 
perfectly well satisfied to find that in our cause j^our judg- 
ment is not cool. Is not it said of Pascal, that he wore a 
girdle of spikes, which he pressed into himself whenever 
he was conscious of any emotions of vanity ? How deep 
tliey must have been pressed, if he had been praised by 
Mrs. Barbauld ! For my part, I do not pretend to any 
ascetic humility, nor do I inflict upon myself the penance 
of abstinence from the refined delicacies of praise — 
especially when they are presented by a friend. 


With respect to "The Lady's Paper," my father de- 
sires me to tell you, dear madam, that it was his proposal, 
not mine. I am glad that your objections have appeared 
to him satisfactory. I agree with j^ou perfectly in think- 
ing that to provoke a war with the other sex would be 
neither politic nor becoming in ours. Our literature 
should never be placed in competition with theirs, to 
plague them : it should be added to the common stock of 
amusement and happiness. To attempt to form a corps 
of literary women, where all would wish to be officers 
except those best suited to command, where there would 
be no discipline, and where, as you observe, the individ- 
uals might not choose to mess together, would be absurd 
and ridiculous. 

As I was not at home when my father answered your 
letter, I am perhaps repeating the very things which he 
has said : but this you must excuse ; for we are notorious 
for expressing the same ideas, often in the same words, 
at different ends of the same room. 

To one thing in your letter, dear madam, I must 
object, even if my father has not dared to do so : I must 
remonstrate against your being only an occasional corre- 
spondent. I am not surprised that you should not like to 
bind yourself to feed the press with daily delicacies ; but 
by proper economy and arrangements amongst the princi- 
pal purveyors, you would never be exposed to this tremen- 
dous necessity. I hope, therefore, upon second tlioxights, 
which Dr. Aikin will in this case allow to be best, you 
will consent to give credit to our firm,, by placing your 
name foremost as the acting partner. "We should rejoice 
to have the able and elegant assistance of Miss Aikin, 
of your brother, and of Mr. Rogers, Miss Baillie, and 
Mrs. Opie. 

Do not imagine, dear Mrs. Barbauld, when I mention 


the life of Iviehardson, that I am p;oing to attempt that 
return of euloiiium witli which authors sometnues treat 
each other. You are quite above this traffic of bays ; 
and, I hope, so am I. The eager interest witli which I 
read the life of Richardson, you would have thought the 
most unequivocal testimony I could give of my liking it. 
My father, in jest, said that I was wildly anxious to read 
it, because it was the life of an author ; but I knew that 
my interest in it arose from its being written by Mrs. 
Barbauld. I think I should be able to distinguish her 
style from that of any other female wi'iter, by the ease, 
frequency, and felicity of its classical allusions, — allu- 
sions sufficiently intelligible to the unlearned, and which 
serve as freemason signs to the learned. 

Though you have such an aversion to the sea, we do 
not yet give up the hopes of having you and Mr. Bar- 
bauld at Edgeworthstown. We shall expect you along 
with the blessings of peace. But when — is I fear in 
the bosom of emperors. In the mean time, dear madam, 
accept my greatful thanks for your kindness, and believe 
me with sincere esteem and admiration, 

Affectionately yours, 

Maria Edgeworth. 

Miss Seward, in writing her friend Miss Mary 
Powys, in 1804, gives a glimpse of Maria's sisters as 
calling on her when she visited Bristol. She writes 
" Maria " for Anna. 

"Maria and Emmeline of Edgeworthstown, both settled 
m that city (Bristol), sought me with much kindness, 
and spoke with apparent delight of my attentions to them 
in their infancy, and of the hours they called happily 
spent beneath my father's roof. They have heard re- 


ceutly from iX)or Lovell. Alas ! he is still in the clutch- 
es of the detestable tyrant, Bonaparte, and complains 
heavily of the unwholesome climate of Verdun. Mrs. 
Beddoes is like her mother ; but neither she nor her 
sister, Mrs. King, has any traces of their father. I 
thought them agreeable, but a few hours do not enable us 
to know if people talk from a reservoir or a spring. . . . 
I inquired after them on arriving at Mrs. Pennington's, 
but should not have sought them, uncertain of my recep- 
tion, had they not sought me. The consciousness that 
they passed several years under the care of my soul's dear 
Honora gave me an unsuppressive interest in seeing and 
in listening to them. They drew back the curtains of the 
past. ' ' 

In 1804 Maria made a visit in December and 
January to Black Castle. In February she wrote 
from home that she had been reading " a power of 
good books," and enumerates "Montesquieu sur la 
Grandeur et Decadence des Remains." In Dallas's 
" History of the Maroons," which she was studying 
for " Professional Education," a work in which she 
was helping her father, she found a hint for the plot 
of a comedy, which she proposed to prepare secretly 
for her father's birthday. 

Maria was always busy with a little piece of work 
with which she occupied herself during hours of 
leisure from writing, or while she listened to reading 
aloud. These busy fingers wrought many a piece of 
embroidery or fine needlework, while the brain wove 
the web of fancies bright or serious ; many a scene 
of lively dialogue, clever character-painting, or pa- 
thetic description passed into the clear words in 


which it later appeared on the pages of tale or novel, 
-while the hand was rapidly moving in some womanly 
bit of needlework. Faustus says, — 

" Oh ! what is intellect ? — a strange, strange web ; 
How bright the embroidery, — but how dark the woof ! " 

The mind of Maria was not of this order: her 
embroidery of fancy was as cheerful as her handi- 
work. In 1805 she \vrote to her brother Henry, 
who was then at Edinburgh, and in sending some 
messages says, — 

" The worsted sleeves are for Mrs. Stewart, aud you 
are to offer them to her. Nobody can say I do not know 
how to choose my ambassadors well ! If Mrs. Stewart 
should begiu to say, it is a pity Miss Edgeworth should 
spend her time at such work, please tell her that I like 
work very much, and that I have only done this at odd 
times ; after breakfast, you kuow, when my father reads 
out of Pope's Homer, or when there are long sittings, 
when it is much more agreeable to move one's fingers, 
than to have to sit with hands crossed or clasped. I by 
no means accede to the doctrine that ladies cannot at- 
tend to any thing else when they are working : besides, 
it is contrary, is it not, to all the theories of ' Zoonomia ' ? 
Does uot Dr. Darwin show that certain habitual motions 
go on without interrupting trains of thought ; and do not 
common-sense and experience, whom I respect even aljove 
Dr. Darwin, show the same thing? " 

In the spring of 1805 Maria had a severe illness, 
followed by a long and slow convalescence. While 
she was recovering from this illness, she was allowed 
to hear reading ; aud her sister read to her " The 


Lay of the Last Minstrel," then just published, 
Lady Granard having kindly sent it to her. The 
appearance of that j)oem was an event in Maria's 
life, and from it dated her enthusiastic admiration 
and affectionate regard for Sir Walter Scott. At 
one bound Scott found himself famous in the lit- 
erary arena. Sir James Mackintosh, in writing from 
Bombay, says, after a glowing expression of admi- 
ration, — 

"On the whole, I have read nothing but Cowper's 
third volume, and Miss Edgeworth's ' Tales,' since I have 
left England, which has pleased me so much as the 

Mr. Edgeworth visited London during the spring, 
having been summoned to give evidence as a wit- 
ness in the case of his friend Judge Fox, before 
the House of Lords. While he was there, he wrote 
Maria of his having " assisted " at a dejeuner, given 
by the lady who was known as " Buff and Blue and 
Mrs. Crewe." She praised "To-morrow;" and he 
claimed in consideration thereof a song from her, 
" which is not easy to obtain, and got it." 

During this summer Maria made pleasant visits, 
after her recovery from her illness, at Pakenham 
Hall and Castle Forbes. After her return Lady 
Elizabeth Pakenham sent her "a little pony, as 
quiet and almost as small as a dog, on which I go 
'trit trot, trit trot;' but I hox^e it will never take 
into its head to add when we come to the stile, ' Skip 
we go over.' " 

In writing about this time, Maria says she has 

" LEONORA." 211 

been very idle, " so idle that," she has " not j^et fin- 
islied 'Mme. de Fleuiy.' So Lord Henry Petty is 
cliancellor of the exchequer, at twenty-four, on the 
pinnacle of glory ! " 

About the time her " Leonora " was preparing for 
publication, Mr. Edgeworth wrote to Maria : — 

"Your critic, partner, father, friend, has finished j'our 
'Leonora.' He has cut out a few pages; one or two 
letters are nearly untouched : the rest are cut, scrawled, 
and interlined without mercy. I make no doubt of the 
success of the book amongst a certain class of readers; 
PROVIDED it be reduced to one small volume, and provided 
it be polished ad unguem^ so that neither flaw nor seam 
can be perceived by the utmost critical acumen. As it 
has no story to interest the curiosity, no comic to make 
the reader laugh, nor tragic to make him cry, it must 
depend upon the development of sentiment, the veri- 
similitude of character, and the elegance of style, which 
the higher classes of the literary world expect in such a 
performance, and may accept in lieu of fable and of 
excitement for their feelings. These you well know how 
to give, and your honest gratitude towards a favoring 
public will induce your accustomed industry to put the 
highest finish to the work. For this purpose, I advise 
you to revise it frequently, and look upon it as a promis- 
ing infant committed to your care, which you are bound 
by many ties to educate, and bring out when it is fit to be 
presented. The design is worthy of that encouragement 
which you have always received : it rests on nature, truth, 
sound morality, and religion ; and, if you polish it, it will 
sparkle in the regions of moral fashion. You will be 
surprised to hear that I have corrected more faults of 
style in this than in any thing I have ever corrected for 


you. Your uncle Ruxtou's criticisms have, except one, 
been adopted by me ; and I hope, when you have cor- 
rected it again, he will have the goodness to revise it a 

second time." 

Edgewoethstown, Feb. 26, 1806. 

My dear Mrs. Barbauld, — Holcroft wrote the heads 
of tlie chapters in "Popular Tales:" he was employed 
by Johnson to correct the press. We were so much scan- 
dalized when we saw them that Johnson offered to con- 
ceal the whole impression. My father says I should not 
enter into long explanations about trifles, but I cannot 
help being anxious to assure you that those trite, vulgar 
sentences were not written by my father and preceptor. 
Yon will wonder why I should thus abruptly address my 
justification to you. My dear madam, we have just been 
reading a review, or rather an eulogium, of "Popular 
Tales," which, from the excellence of the writing and its 
generous warmth, we are persuaded could be written by no 
other but our friend Mrs. Barbauld. I never felt, and 
my father declares he never felt, so much pleasure from 
any praise : indeed, we never before received any of so 
high value, and from a judge whom we so much respect. 
We would rather have one grain of such praise than a 
hundred-weight of compliment from common critics. 

I regret that I inserted in the " Modern Griselda" the 
offensive line from Chaucer. Let me assure j'ou that 
this little tale was written in playfulness, not bitterness 
of heart. My father had often declared that he could 
not be imposed upon liy me, but that he should know my 
writing without my name to it. When he was absent for 
a few weeks, and none but the ladies of the family at 
home, I wrote this story, sent it to Johnson, had it 
printed with a titlepage without my name, and on my 
father's return home showed it to him. Not one of the 



female committee who sat upon it every day whilst it 
was writing and reading ever imagined that it would l)e 
thought a severe libel upon the sex ; perhaps because 
their attention was fixed upon Mrs. CI rani )y, who is at 
least as much a panegyric as Mrs. Bolingbroke is a satire 
upon the sex. It is curious that the Edinburgh review- 
ers laugh at us for introducing into every story some 
charming wife, sister, mother, or daughter, who acts the 
part of the good fairy of the piece. "Leonora" will 
confirm them in this opinion, and will, I hope, make 
my peace with you. 

There is some probability that my father and two or 
three of this family may be in England this year; and 
we look forward to the hopes of seeing you, my dear 
madam, as one of the greatest pleasures that a visit to 
London can afford. My brother Sneyd, who is going to 
enter the Temple, will certainly accompany ray father 
to ELngland. You may remember, if you do not always 
forget your own goodness, that you selected and read to 
us, several years ago, some lines " On Evening " in "The 

Monthly Magazine," by C. S. E , written when he 

was ten years old. He has not indulged since in writing 
much poetry, as he had far other studies to pursue for 
the College of Dublin. On quitting that college, he 
wished to leave some memorial behind ; and he has just 
finished a poem called "The Transmigrations of Indur," 
— the plan taken from your tale in " Evenings at Home." 
If this poem should obtain a premium from the college, 
we shall think it worthy of the honor of being presented 
to you, my dear Mrs. Barbauld. . . . 

Believe me, dear Mrs. Barbauld, I am, with sincere 
esteem and grateful affection. 

Your friend, 

Maria Edgeworth. 


Maria, on hearing from a friend in London that 
" Leonora " was not as much liked as " Popular 
Tales," wrote, "I must try and do something bet- 
ter." Her failure may be ascribed to precisely the 
faults her father had pointed out to her. It was 
not calculated to please the general public ; and the 
book had grave defects of plan and execution, though 
not without many admirable ideas and many excel- 
lent passages. When her brother and sister were 
reading " Sir Charles Grandison," she said, in writ- 
ing to a friend, — 

"I almost envy them the pleasure of reading Clemen- 
tina's history for the first time. It is one of those pleas- 
ures which can never be repeated in life." 

In this same season of 1806, she made several 
visits in the spring to Sonna, Pakenham Hall, Farn- 
ham, and Castle Forbes. In March she wrote to 
Mrs. Edgeworth of a " happy week " she had at Col- 
Ion with Mrs. Beaufort, the mother of Mrs. Edge- 
worth; and from there she went to Rosstrevor to 
visit her aunt, Mrs. Ruxton. 

The following pleasant and kindly letter of Mr. 
Edgeworth will show how warmly Maria and he 
welcomed a new-comer in the field of Irish fiction, 
which one might fancy she considered her peculiar 
province. She was always ready to enjoy the books 
of a new writer, and she hailed with enthusiasm the 
appearance of each new claimant for literary honors. 
Her very cordial words were supplemented by gen- 
erous help, and she gave valuable aid to struggling 
writers more than once. 


Mr. Chorlc}' puts on record what has often been 
remarked ol" Lady Morgan, — her ingratitude and 
self-assumption. He says, — 

" I have often heard her declare in one breath that she 
created the national Irish novel ; while in another, with 
sublime inconsistency, she would assert that Miss Edge- 
worth was a grown woman while she was yet a child." 

Miss Edgeworth was always so interested in a 
new novel of any merit, that she could not bear to 
stop to reason on its improbability. Lady Morgan's 
" O'Donnell " was being read aloud some time after 
this, at the scene of McRory's appearance in the 
billiard-room, when her father said, "This is quite 
improbable." — "Nevermind the improbability: let 
us go on with the entertainment." 

Sir Walter Scott said of "O'Donnell," that "in it 
the comic part is very rich and striking;" and he 
adds, he thinks " a want of story always fatal to a 
book the first reading. The big bow-wow strain I 
can do myself like any now going ; but the exquisite 
touch, which renders ordinary, commonplace things 
and character interesting, from the truth of descrip- 
tion, and the sentiment, is denied me." And in 
speaking of " Granby," a novel of the day, he said, 
"It is too labored in its descriptions of society. 
The women do this better. Edgeworth, Ferrier, 
Austen, have all given portraits of real society far 
superior to any thing man, vain man, has produced 
of the like nature." 


[R. L. Edge worth to Sydney Owenson, afterwards Lady Morgan.] 
Edgeworth House, Dec. 23, 1806. 

Madam, — I have just read j'oiir " Wild Irish Girl," 
a title which will attract by its novelty, but which does 
not suit well the charming character of Glorvina. 

As a sincere and warm friend to Ireland, I return you 
my thanks for the just character which you hai^e given to 
the lower Irish, and for the sound and judicious obser- 
vations which you have attributed to the priest. The 
notices of Irish history are ingeniously introduced, and 
are related in such a manner as to induce belief amongst 

It is with much self-complacency that I recollect our 
meeting, and my having in a few minutes' conversation 
at a literary dinner in London discovered that I was 
talking to a 3'oung lady of uncommon genius and talents. 

I believe that some of the harpers you mention were 
at the harpers' prize ball, at Granard, near this place, in 
1782 or 1783. One female harper, of the name of 
Bridget, obtained the second prize. Fallon carried off 
the first. I think I have heard the double-headed man. 
My daughter published an essay on the subject of that 
prize in an obscure newspaper, of which we have no copy. 
I shall try at the printer's to obtain a copj^ that I may 
publish it in one of the respectable monthly magazines, 
with a view to speak my sentiments of your work to the 

I think it is a duty, and I am sure it is a pleasure, to con- 
tribute, as far as it is in my power, to the fame of a writer 
who has done so much, and so well, for her country. 

Maria, who reads (it is said) as well as she writes, has 
entertained us with several passages from ' ' The Wild 
Irish Girl," which I thought superior to any parts of the 


book which I had ro.'ul. Upon looking over hor shouldor, 

J found she had omittod some sniu'rlhious epilhcts. Dare 

she have done this if you had been by? J think she 

wouhl have (hired, because your good taste and sound 

sense would have been instantly her defenders. I am, 

dear madam, 

Your obedient servant, 

Richard Lovell Edgeworth. 

In April, Maria mentions an exciting event, — 
the engagement, and then the marriage, of " Kitty 
Pakenham " to Sir Arthur Wcllesley, hater the Duke of 
Wellington. He had just returned from his brilliant 
career in India, after a stay there of eleven years, 
when he was again ordered to join Lord Cathcart's 
exi)edition to Hanover. He was appointed chief 
secretary for Ireland in 1807. They had long been 
attached to each other. Maria says of the great man, 
"the Iron Duke," and his appearance at this date: 
" He was seen at Dublin Castle on his return to Eng- 
land after his wedding, handsome, very brown, quite 
bald, and a hooked nose." She adds, " Lady Eliza- 
beth Pakenham told us, that when Lady Wellesley 
was presented to the queen,i her Majesty said, ' I am 
happy to see you at my court, so bright an example 
of constancy. If anybody in this world deserves to 
be happy, you do.' Then her Majesty inquired, ' But 
did you really never write one letter to Sir Arthur 
Wellesley during his long absence ? ' — ' No, never, 
madam.' — ' And did you never think of him ? ' — 
*Yes, madam, very often.' I am glad constancy is 

1 Queen Charlotte. 


approved of at courts, and hope the bright example 
may be followed," she adds. 

In July they had a visit from Humphry Davy 
and Mr. Greenough, two philosophical travellers. 
Maria thought Davy wonderfully improved since she 
met him at Bristol, with an amazing fund of knowl- 
edge on all subjects, and a great deal of genius. 
Maria says, — 

" My father's domestic happiness about this time had 
severe shocks. He was doomed to see the fairest blos- 
soms of talent blasted by disease, and the most highly 
cultivated, and the most valuable, fruits of education 
perish, almost at the moment when they attained to per- 
fection bej'oud his fondest hopes. 

" Charlotte, for whom he had never had any apprehen- 
sions, and who during our visit to Paris had appeared 
the image of health, and had been described by foreigners 
' as fresh as a rose,' suddenly faded. Soon after her re- 
turn from the Continent, her health declined ; but as she 
did not resemble either of her sisters, Honora or Eliza- 
beth, who died of consumption, this difference long gave 
flattermg hopes of security. 

" In the autumn of 1806, however, symptoms of pulmo- 
nary consumption appeared. She died the ensuing scoring 
(April, 1807), in her twenty-fourth year." 

The following anecdote is related of this young 
lady : — 

"Charlotte was a beautiful girl, with luxuriant golden 
hair. The rector of the parish and an officer of the 
British army were dining at Edgeworthstown house. 
After dinner the ladies repaired to the library, and after 


wine the gentlemen followed. As they entered the door 
of the library, the officer exclaimed, ' IIow l)eautiful ! ' 
INIr. lulgeworth said, li:ui<i-htily and quickly, 'Wliat do 
3^ou admire, sir? ' He replied, ' Your daughter's magnifi- 
cent hair.' Charlotte was standing in a becoming atti- 
tude before the bright grate, with her arms resting upon 
the mantlepiece. Mr. Edgeworth walked across the room 
to the book-shelves, opened a drawer, held her head back, 
and cut her hair close to her head. As the golden ringlets 
fell into tlie drawer, this extraordinary father said, ' Char- 
lotte, what do you say?' She answered, 'Thank you, 
father.' Turniug to his guests, he remarked, 'I will not 
allow a daughter of mine to be vain.' " 

The death of Charlotte Edgeworth was a sad blow 
to the family. Henry, also, was a constant invalid 
and made many fruitless journeys in search of 
health. While Charlotte continued to be comforta- 
ble, Maria made a visit to Coolure, and passed a few 
days there with the family of Admiral Pakenham. 
There she met the future leader of the English at 
New Orleans, Sir Edward Pakenham, who was killed 
in that engagement with the American forces. 

" He had burned his instep by falling asleep before the 
fire, out of which a turf fell on his foot ; and so he was, 
luckily for us, detained a few days longer. He is very 
agreeable, and unaffected and modest, after all the flattery 
he has met with." 

Mr. Edgeworth enlarged the library this year by 
breaking through the thick old outside walls of the 
house, and leaving two square pillars, beyond which 
a large addition was built. He also laid out for 


Maria a garden at the west end of the house, close 
to a new greenhouse, built to match tlie addition to 
the library, and opening into Mrs. Edgeworth's 
dressiug-room. Maria had before this made a pretty 
garden of an old unused quarry, but it was at quite 
a distance from the house. The planning, arranging, 
and planting this new garden, on which she could 
look from her own room, was a great pleasure to her. 

Anxiety from the insurgents, who called them- 
selves "Thrashers," was very great at this time. 
They wandered about the country in large bands, 
attacking houses and seizing arms. The last weeks 
of Charlotte's life were made very painful by the 
disturbances and distress this occasioned. One night 
when Lord Longford and Mr. Rennie, the engineer, 
were at the house, the family were aroused by sucli 
an alarm ; and for some time after this the windows 
were kept barricaded, and a guard of the yeomanry 
corps stationed in the house. When j\lr. Rennie 
was called up in the night, he remarked, very natu- 
rally, that " this was a strange country, where a man 
could not sleep one night in peace." The marauders 
did not appear, after all the preparations for defence. 

Sir James Mackintosh was so much pleased with 
the "Popular Tales," that he wrote George Moore 
in 1807,— 

"1 hope you have read Miss Edgeworth's 'Popular 
Tales,' and that you have directed several copies of an 
Irish translation, made under your auspices, to be distrib- 
uted to every cottager on your estate. Except the four 
Gospels, I think there is uo book of popular moraUty 
equal to it." 


It seemefT cruel that the dying girl coiihl not bo 
spared the uncertainties of rebellion, and that all 
the efforts of Maria to ameliorate, by i)recept and 
instruction, the condition of their tenantry and the 
neighboring cottagers, had made no greater impres- 
sion. The Irish owed much to the Edgeworths, but 
gratitude has never been a strong national charac- 
teristic. INIackintosh, in writing of the condition 
of affairs there in 1808, says, "Ireland is, I fear, 
dreadfully Frenchified, and almost ready for general 
insurrection on the appearance of Bonaparte's troops. 

The Abbd Edgeworth, or " Firmont" as he was 
called in France, was always an object of interest 
to Ills relations ; and Maria, in a letter of 1807, sends 
"copy of the epitaph written by Louis XVIII. on 
the Abb^ Edgeworth," to one of the family. 

" I am sure the intention does credit to his Majesty's 
heart, uud the Latin does lionor to his Majesty's head." 

In writing to her brother Sneyd, then in London, 
in 1808, Maria tells him " of a new wonder, now 
grown old." 

"We have had the physiognomical or character-telling 
fishes that you described to Ilouora. Capt. Hercules 
Pakenham brouglit them from Denmark, where a French- 
man was selling them very cheap. Those we saw were 
pale green and bright purple. They are very curious. ]My 
father was struck with tliem as much as, or more than, 
any of the children ; for there are some wonders wliich 
strike in proportion to the knowledge instead of tliQ igno- 
rance of the beholders. Is it a leaf? Is it galvanic? 


What is it? I wish Henry would talk to Davy about it. 
The fish lay more quietly in my father's hand than could 
have been expected, only curled up their tails on my aunt 
Mary's, tolerably quiet on my mother's ; but they could 
not lie still one second on William's, and went up his 
sleeve, which, I am told, their German interpreters say is 
the worst sign they can give. My father suggested that 
the different degrees of dryness or moisture in the hands 
cause the emotions of these sensitive fish ; but, after 
drying our best, no change was perceptible. I thought 
the pulse was the cause of their motion ; but this does 
not hold, because my pulse is slow, and my father's pulse 
is very quick. It was ingenious to make them in the 
shape of fish, because their motions exactl}' resemble 
the breathing and panting and floundering and tail-curling 
of fish ; and I am sure I have tired 3^ou with them, and 
you are sick of these fish." 

It was afterwards learned that these conjuring fish 
had been brought from Japan by the Dutch, and 
were made of very thin horn. 

Maria wrote in Jan. 23, 1808, — 

" Edgewobthstown. 

"I cannot, in conscience, let this frank go without a 
line to you. I will tell you how ' Professional Education ' 
goes on ; which, as it is the object of my waking and 
sleeping thoughts, I know, by sympathy, must be inter- 
esting to you. ' Clergymen ' has been entirely re-writ- 
ten ; and I hope, as papa and mamma both think so, it 
has been improved. I have about seventeen pages of the 
said chapter to copy. 

"'Country Gentlemen' — done. I think tolerable, 
nothing brilliant ; gone to Lord Selkirk, who begged to 


keep it a fortnight, tluit he nii^ht first get a pamphlet of 
his own out of his head, which, as it is on the state 
of the country, must be published before the meeting of 
Parliament, Besides this chapter, Lord iSelkirk has that 
on 'Statesmen, Diplomatists,' etc. This, I think, is 'ce 
que fed fait de mains mal,' as Mme. de Genlis said. 

" ' Education of Trinces ' has been with Mr. Keir, and 
has his approbation strongly except in one point, which 
we shall alter : it will take me three days to make that 

'"Lawyers' — totally re-written. It has been with 
Judge Fox, and has received his unqualified approbation. 
I wish Richard could read it before it goes to press : and 
this was one reason why I wished to go to Gaybrook ; for 
I would have taken it with me, and would have got him 
to sit up half a night to read it. I know he would do 
that, and more, for his old friend Maria. 

"'Military Education' — corrected since its return 
from Mr. Keir; story of ' Capt. Spike' taken out, in 
consequence of Mr. Keir's objections to it as too soften- 
ing, and a better story, from the ' Life of Bertrand du 
Gueselin,' which I read to you on the sofa, put in its stead. 
" ' Physician ' — still to be done. This is the only one 
we have to do except the preliminary chapter, which is 
a mass of heterogeneous stuff, — must be entirely new- 
formed ; will be at least seventy pages. I shall have the 
whole time the rest of the book is printing to do this ; 
because, though the 2yreliminary chapter must come first, 
it may be printed last, by the common ingenious contriv- 
ance of paging it separately in Roman figures. 

" I never thought this book would come so near to a 
conclusion. I am well repaid for all the labor this copy- 
ing and correcting has cost me, by seeing that my father 
is pleased with it, and thinks it a proof of affection and 


gratitude. I cannot help, however, looking forward to 
its publication and fate with an anxiety and apprehension 
I never felt before ; for I consider that my father's credit 
is at stake. ' ' 

" Professional Education " contains eight chapters, 
namely, " The Choice of a Profession," " Clerical," 
" Military and Naval," " Medical," " Country Gen- 
tleman," "Law," "Statesman," "Prince." "The 
Choice of a Profession " is very useful, and contains 
many good hints. All are valuable and well writ- 
ten. The principle on which the essays are founded 
is quoted at the beginning of the first chapter from 
Dr. Johnson, who was decidedly of the opinion that 
chance more often influenced men in the choice of a 
calling than any thing else. He expressed himself 
to that effect in his " Life of Pope," saying, — 

"Those who attain any excellence commonly spend 
life in one pursuit, for excellence is not often obtained 
on easier terms. But to the particular species of excel- 
lence, men are directed, not by an ascendant planet or 
predominating humor, but by the first book which they 
read, some early conversation which they heard, or some 
accident which excited ardor and emulation." 

He expressed this thought yet more strongly in 
the " Life of Cowley," ending thus : " The true 
genius is a mind of large general powers, acci- 
dentally determined to some particular direction," 
— as Cowley was made a poet, he adds, by reading 
Spenser's " Fairy Queen," which lay in his mother's 


This book contained only the name of Mr. Edge- 
worth on its titlepage. INIaria made no secret of the 
assistance of her father, bnt probably it was thouglit 
that it would not be considered as valuable by the 
public if the hand of a woman was detected in its 
composition. Mr. Edge worth's dedication to Earl 
Spenser is very admirable for its brevity, concise- 
ness, and simplicity. 

INIy Lord, — The good sense of two centuries has con- 
firmed Bacon's opinion of dedications, — '■'■that books, 
such as are worthy the name of books, ought to have no 
patrons but truth and reason." Your lordship's name, 
therefore, is prefixed to these essays, not as a propitiating 
oflfering to the pubhc, but as a tribute due to a great 
statesman, who is an illustrious example of the effects 
which may be expected from good education. Sir Wil- 
liam Jones, thirty years ago, pronounced of his pupil : 

" This man will serve his couutry." 

R. L. E. 

Edgewobthstown, May, 1808. 

Both " Practical " and " Professional Education " 
enlarge much on truth-telling. 

" Begin by training the boy [says "Professional Edu- 
cation"] to tell the truth. Use every motive of shame 
and praise to inspire him with this courage. Teach him 
to scorn to tell a lie. Explain to him the value of a 
promise : explain it to him with some solemnity. Tell 
him that a gentleman, a man of honor, never, for any 
consideration, breaks his word. Teach him to be fear- 
fully cautious of making promises, and to feel a holy 
horror of breaking them. Teach him this by example, 


as well as by pi-ecept, or your words may play upon his 
ear, but they will never reach his heart. Truth and hon- 
esty, then, are the fundamental parts of a great character ; 
and these qualities can be most effectually taught in child- 

In the education of princes, he says princes are 
usually proficient in horsemanship ; for horses are not 
flatterers, and there is no royal road to learning to 
manage horses. 

« CORINNE." 227 


"Corinne." — Sir "Walter Scott. — Maria's Assistance of her Father 
in writing. — " Enmii." — Maria begins "Vivian." — Social Life. 

— "Cottagers of Glenbnrnie." — Maria makes Visits. — A Visit 
from Primate Stnart. — "Tales of Fashionable Life," published 
in ISOit. — Notices of this Book. — Maria plans for Future "Work. 

— Summer Visitors. — Mr. Johnson's Death. — Mrs. Inchbahl. — 
Mrs. Barbauld's Edition of "British Novelists." — "Belinda" 
placed in it. — Maria writes Mrs. Inehbald. — Sir James ISIackin- 
tosh's Opinion of Maria's "Works. — Maria's Criticism on Books 
of the Day. — Mrs. Leadbeater. — Maria edits her Book. — Irish 

In the year 1808 Maria notes reading " Corinne " 
and " Letters from the Mountain." 

"I have read ' Coriune ' "svith my father, and I Uke it 
better than he does. In one word, I am dazzled by the 
genius, provoked by the absm-dities, and, in admiration 
of the taste and critical judgment of Italian literature 
displayed throughout the whole work, I almost broke 
my foolish heart over the end of the third volume ; 
and my father acknowledged he never read any thing 
more pathetic. . . . We have just had a charming letter 
from Mrs. Barbauld, in which she asks if we have read 
'Marmion.' " 

As Mr. Poole i credits Sir Walter Scott with the 
review of " Patronage," in " The Edinburgh Review" 
in 1814, it will be "well to state, that during the year 

1 Index. 


1808 Scott wrote to Constable on the appearance 
of the twenty-sixth number of " The Review," with 
the celebrated article of Brougliam, entitled "Don 
Cevallos, on the Usurpation of Spain," " ' The Edin 
burgh Review' has become such as to render it 
impossible for me to continue a contributor to it, — 
noiv it is such as I can no longer continue to receive 
or read it ; " and Constable's list of subscribers con- 
tains Scott's name with an indignant dash of the 
pen, and '■'- Stopt'' against it. Lockhart cannot say 
whether it was entirely political feeling which caused 
this, but thinks he was somewhat swayed by the 
review of " Marmion," which Jeffrey printed in April, 
1808. This review was bitter, and unjust to the 
noble poem of Scott. At all events, he did not write 
for it after that time. Allibone states Sir James 
Mackintosh was the author of the article on " Pat- 
ronage." Scott denied to George Ellis writing one 
review of Miss Edgeworth's writings : — 

"I did not review Miss Edgeworth, nor do I think it 
at all well done : at least, it falls below my opinion of 
that lady's merits." 

There are constant allusions in Scott's life and 
writings to Miss Edgeworth's writings. In 1808, in 
writing at Ashiestel his sketch of his own life, he 
mentions the lord of "Castle Rackrent," who was 
oblicred to cut down a tree to boil a tea-kettle, in 
comparing this to his own miscellaneous but ill- 
assorted reading. He remembered, also, an inci- 
dent similar to that in Miss Edgeworth's story of 
" Frank : " he himself cut a button from the jacket 

A LETTER. 229 

of a boy who stood above liim in tlie class. The boy 
could not recite without holding his button : without 
it, he was so disconcerted he utterly failed. Scott 
told this to Rogers the poet, at Lockhart's house in 
London, on his melancholy journey to Matea. 

Maria's devotion to her father and his interests 
was always paramount. In a letter describing her 
occupations at tliis time, she says, — 

" The moment ' Professional Education ' was gone, the 
iuflaramation in poor papa's eyes came on ; and besides 
reading to him, he wanted in a great hurry to write an 
addition to an essa^' on 'Wheel Carriages,' which he 
gave to Mr. Greenough ; the subject being before a com- 
mittee of the House of Commons, and Mr. Cummins and 
all the great engineers and all the great wagoners dis- 
puting d, Voutrance and d, gorge deploy ee, about the com- 
parative merits of cylindrical and conical wheels. So my 
father, being appealed to, was desirous to state the merits 
of the said wheels impartially ; and he dictated to me, as 
he walked up and down the librar}-, for two hours, nine 
pages ; and these nine pages had to be copied, and nine 
and nine, you are sensible, make eighteen : and it was 
the day I wrote these eighteen pages, that I continued to 
scrawl that letter to my aunt about Jack Langan." 

She laments not hearing from Lovell for a long 
time : their French friends' letters never answer any 
questions about him. As Sir Joseph Banks says, 
"Their letters are now written under evident con- 
straint and fear." 

In the summer of 1808 Maria read aloud "Ennui" 
in manuscript to the family. They used to assemble 
in the middle of the day in the library, and every- 


body enjoj^ed it. One evening, when they were at 
dinner with a large party, the butler came np to Mr. 
Edgeworth, " Mrs. Apreece, sir : she is getting out of 
her carriage." Mr. Edgeworth went to the hall 
door, but the family sat still laughing ; for there had 
been so many jokes about Mrs. Apreece, who was 
then travelling in Ireland, that they thought it was 
only nonsense of Sneyd's, whom they supposed had 
dressed up some one to personate her : and they were 
astonished when Mr. Edgeworth presented her as the 
real Mrs. Apreece. She staid some days, and was 
very brilliant and agreeable. She continued, as Mrs. 
Apreece and Lady Davy, to be a kind friend and 
correspondent of Maria's. 

Maria was delighted with " ' Elizabeth,' by Mme. 
Cottin. The character of the heroine is noble." De- 
cember, 1808, she was at work on Vivian. 

" I have re- written the two first chapters of ' Vivian,' 
and think it improved. I have put both my head and 
shoulders to the business ; and, if I don't make a good 
story of it, it shall not be for want of pains." 

Dec. 30, 1808, she writes to C. S. Edgeworth the 
melancholy news of her brother-in-law's (Dr. Bed- 
does) death. In January, 1809, she was again in the 
midst of gayeties such as they indulged in, — went to 
a dinner of thirty-two at Pakenham Hall, and a great 
ball after it at Mrs. Pollard's ; . . . " saw abundance 

of comedy. There were three Miss s, from the 

county of Tipperary, — three degrees of comparison, 
the positive, comparative, and the superlative : excel- 
lent figures, with white feathers as long as my two 


arms joined together stuck in the front of what were 
meant for Spanish hats. How they towered above 
their sex divinely vulgar, with brogues of the Mile- 
sian race ! Supper so crowded that Caroline Paken- 
luun and I agreed to use one arm by turns, and thus 
witli dilhculty found means to reach our mouths." 

This was the occasion when returning they were 
upset into a snowdrift by their postilion, who was 
drunk : no one was hurt. Maria writes of it : — 

" Adnnral Pakenham lifted me up, and carried me in 
his arms, as if I had been a little doll, and set me down 
actually on the step of Mrs. Tuite's carriage, so I never 
wet foot or shoe." 

Miss Elizabeth Hamilton's excellent little book, 
called " The Cottagers of Glenburnie," appeared in 
1808 ; and Maria hailed its appearance very cordially. 
She expressed her opinion, that "it will do a vast 
deal of good ; and, besides, it is extremely interesting, 
which all (jood books are not : it has great powers, 
both comic and tragic." While Maria was making 
one of her usual visits at Pakenham Hall, in this year, 
she read aloud the story of " Emilie de Coulanges : " 
they all enjoyed it very much, and so expressed 
themselves to Maria. She wrote that she was hard 
at work soon after this at " Vivian." 

"My father says 'Vivian' will stand next to Mrs. 
Beaumont ('Manoeuvring') and 'Ennui.' I have ten 
(lays' more work at it, and then huzza ! Ten days more 
purgatory at other corrections, and then a heaven upon 
earth of idleness and reading, which is my idleness. 
Half of ' Professional Education ' is printed." 


About tliis time Maria sent a picture of herself, 
which appeared as the frontispiece of a magazine, to 
her aunt, Mrs. Ruxton. It represents a "buxom 
young kdy, tall and large, and totally unlike Maria," 
said one of her family ; but the print bore the name 
of Maria Edgeworth at the foot of the page. She 
wrote beneath a copy of it, — 

"Oh! says the little woman, 
This is none of I," — 

in February, 1809. 

During this winter of 1809 Maria made a delight- 
ful visit at Black Castle. She always enjoyed ex- 
ceedingly these visits ; but she wrote of this particu- 
lar one, — 

" It is no new thing for me to enjoy Black Castle, but 
I think I was particularly happy there last time." 

After her return home, the play of " The Grinding 
Organ " was performed by the family in the theatre of 
Edgeworthstown house. Maria liked the way in 
which it was set very much. She afterwards pub- 
lished it, in 1827, in a small volume called " Little 
Plays." In April the Primate of Ireland, Mr. Stu- 
art, made them a visit, pleasing Maria very much. 
She said of him, — 

" He has two things in his character which I think sel- 
dom meet, — a strong taste for humor and strong feel- 
ings of indignation. In his eye you may often see alter- 
nately the secret laughing expression of humor, and the 
sudden open flash of indignation. He is a man of the 


warmest feelings, with the coldest exterior I ever saw, — 
a master uiiud." 

Maria hailed the arrival of " Tales of Fashionable 
Life," in June of 1809. They " reached us yesterday 
in a Foster frank. They looked well enough ; not 
very good paper, but better than ' Popular Tales.' " 
The first set contained " Ennui," " Mme. de Fleury," 
"Almeria," "The Dun," and "Manoeuvring," in 
three volumes. The paper was very poor. 

In the " Personal Sketch " of Sir Jonah Barring- 
ton, he says, in describing his experience of life and 
the condition of Ireland, — 

" Miss Edgeworth's ' Castle Raekrent ' and ' Fashion- 
able Tales ' are incomparable in depicting truly several 
traits of the rather modern Irish character. . . . The 
landlord, the agent, and the attorney of ' Castle Raekrent' 
(in fact, every person it describes) are neither fictitious nor 
even uncommon characters ; and the changes of landed 
property in the county where I was born (where perhaps 
they have prevailed to the full as widely as in any other of 
the united empire) owed, iu nine cases out of ten, their 
origin, progress, and catastrophe, to incidents in no wise 
differing from those so accurately painted in Miss Edge- 
worth's narrative." 

Barrington's praise sounds faint beside that of 
" The Edinburgh Review," who honored Maria with 
a most brilliant and appreciative, yet discriminating, 
article on her " Fashionable Tales." The writer 
" envies Miss Edgeworth," not so much for the many 
brilliant and ingenious stories she has written, "as 
for the delightful consciousness of having done more 


good than any other writer, male or female, of her 

" The Quarterly Review " also gave her a long, 
critical, and exhaustive notice of the "Fashionable 

Maria read several old books this year, among 
them the celebrated memoirs of Col. Hutchinson, 
and that of his wife, Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson. Haw- 
kins's "Life of Dr. Johnson" also interested her. 
She commented on it, — 

"He has thrown a heap of rubbish of his own over 
poor Johnson, which would smother any less gigantic 

She also read with interest Powell's sermons. 

"The primate lent them to my father. There is a 
charge on the connection between merit and preferment, 
and a discourse on the influence of academical studies 
and a recluse life, which I particularly admire, and wish 
it had been quoted in ' Professional Education.' " 

About this time Maria was planning for future 
writing, and says, — 

"I am going to write a story called 'To-day,' as a 
match for ' To-morrow ; ' in which I mean to show that 
impatience is as bad as procrastination, and the desire to 
do too much at present is as bad as putting off every 
thing to to-morrow." 

This was never written. Another plan was to 
write " a story in which young men of all the pro- 
fessions should act a part ; like the ' Contrast ' in 
higher life, or the Freeman family (' Patronage '), 


only without any possible allusion to our own family. 
I have another sub-plan of writing ' Cojlebina in 
Search of a Husband,' without my father's knowing 
it, and without reading ' Coelebs,' that I ma}' neither 
imitate nor abuse it." 

During this summer they had many visitors, — 
the Beaufort family, the Ruxtons, and others. Dr. 
(afterwards Sir Henry) Holland, "a grand-nephew 
of Mr. Wedgwood's, and son of a surgeon at Knuts- 
ford, Cheshire, and intended for a physician, came 
liere in the course of a pedestrian tour : he spent 
two days." She found him " A^ery well informed." 
He was able to tell her much of her friends, the 
Barbaulds and the Aikins. He was very often at 
Mrs. Barbauld's. He also told her much of Mrs. 
Marcet, author of the " Conversations on Chemis- 
trj^" a charming woman by his account. This visit 
was the beginning of a life-long, delightful friend- 
ship between Dr. Holland and Miss Edgeworth. 
Dr. Holland's relations, the Darwins and Wedg- 
woods, were old friends of the Edgeworths. Dr. 
Holland himself records his impressions of this visit 
in his " Recollections of Past Life." 

" During this interval, before returning to Edinburgh, 
I made two excursions to Ireland : the first of which — a 
pedestrian tour in the Wicklow Mountains — I described 
in a paper or papers in some periodical of that time, the 
name of which I now forget ; the second (in 1809) was 
made interesting to me by a visit to Edgeworthstown, then 
the residence of a large and happy family, of whom few 
now survive. Mrs. Edgeworth, the mother of many chil- 
dren, and the admirable stepmother of many more, died 


but four years ago, in her ninety-third year. The friend- 
ship I formed with Maria Edgeworth in this my early 
youth was continued by frequent meetings in London, 
and once again at Edgeworthstown, whither I took my 
two sous witli me. It was still further maintained by an 
unbroken and affectionate correspondence for more than 
forty years. Her letters to me would, in themselves, 
have formed a volume. One of the last she ever wrote 
was after reading the first volumes of Macaulay's ' His- 
tory.' I showed it Lord Macaulay, who was so much 
struck with its discrimination and ability that he begged 
me to let him keep it. A few days afterwards a letter 
came from her family to tell me of her death." 

The following letter from Mr. Edgeworth to Mrs. 
Inclibald, the novelist and actress, explains itself. 

Edgeworthstown, Ireland, 10th July, 1S09. 

Dear Madam, — I beg you to accept a copy of my 
daughter's last work. Johnson has already called for 
corrections for a second edition : your observations would 
be a treasure to us. When you have a waste moment, 
pray tell me which of the tales you prefer. 

Your friend Lovell Edgeworth has been removed, and 
is well at Melun. 

I am, madam, your sincere admirer, 


The " Tales of Fashionable Life " went to a sec- 
ond edition in a short time, as will be seen by this 
letter of Mr. Edgeworth. Mr. Johnson behaved 
with great liberality about the book, and on his 
death-bed commissioned Mr. Miles to write to Mr. 
Edgeworth "that he should ill deserve your coufi- 


dence, if he were rigidly to adhere to the contract 
which he made for the hist work ; the sale of which 
has cnahlcd him to double the original purchase- 
money, and to place the sum to the credit of your 

]\Ir. IMiles behaved very handsomely also to iMaria, 
and treated her in the same fair manner which his 
uncle had observed. She always felt an affectionate 
regard for the memory of ]\Ir. Johnson, whose ad- 
vice was of material assistance to her. He died in 
December, 1809. 

The family circle at Edgeworthstown was enlarged 
by the birth of a son to jNIrs. Edgeworth, in August, 

About this time M. Dumont wrote from Lord 
Henry Petty's : — 

" Nous avons lu en soci^te a ' Bounds,' ' Tales of Fash- 
ionable Life,' Toutc societe est un petit theatre. ' Ennui ' 
et ' Mana?uvring ' out eu un suec&s marque : il a cte tres 
vif. Nous avons trouve un grand nombre de dialogues 
du meilleur, comique, c'est d, dire de ceux ou le persou- 
nages se developpent sans le vouloir, et sans songer a I'etre. 
II y a des scenes charmantes dans ' Mme. de Fleury.' Ne 
eraiguez pas les difflcultes : c'est la ou vous brillez." 

Mrs. Inchbald was considered no mean critic. As 
early as 1801 Mrs. Opie wrote a friend that she was 
"going to-day to carry Mrs. Inchbald my book ^ to 
read. She has promised me her opinion of it, and I 
long to receive it. She is a judge of the tale only: 

1 Father and Daughter, and Tlie Maid of Corinth. 


poetry is to her an undiscovered country. The 
ballads she already admires highly." 

The jMisses Sneyd, accompanied by Honora Edge- 
worth (the second child of that name in the family), 
passed the autumn of 1809, and the wmter, at their 
brother's, Mr. Sneyd's, in Staffordshire. The Edge- 
worths had a visit from the celebrated Irish lady, so 
long and so well known in London society, Lydia 
White, in December of 1809. Somebody, in sjieak- 
ing of this lady, asked if Miss White "was a blue- 
stocking." — " Oh, yes, she is ! I can't tell you how 
blue." — " What is bluer than blue ? '' — ''Morbleu!'' 
exclaimed Lord Norbury. 

Mrs. Barbauld was to edit a "Collection of the 
British Novelists." The critical and biographical 
notices prefixed are valuable and spirited. Sir Wal- 
ter Scott acknowledged his indebtedness to her for 
some of his material, used in preparing his edition 
of " Ballantyne's British Novelists." Mrs. Bar- 
bauld's " Collection " consisted of fifty volumes, 
and it appeared in 1810. She asked Maria for a 
corrected copy of "Belinda," which she placed on 
the list. 

Li December, 1809, Maria made visits of a few 
days at Souna and Pakenham Hall. After her re- 
turn home she says, — 

' ' I have been reading, for the fourth time I believe, 
'The Simple Story,' which I intended this time to read 
as a critic, that I might write to Mrs. Inchbald about it ; 
but I was so carried away by it that I was totally inca- 
pable of thinking of Mrs. Inchbald or any thing but 
Miss Milner and Dorriforth, who appeared to me real 


persons, whom T s:nv :ind licai-d, ami wlio liad such power 
to interest nie that I eried my eyes ahnost out Itefoi-o I 
came to the end of the story. 1 thhik it the most pa- 
thetic and most powerfully interesting tale I ever read. 
I was obliged to go from it to correct ' Belinda ' for Mrs. 
Barbauld, who is going to insert it in her collection of 
no\els, with a preface ; and I really was so provoked with 
the cold tameness of that stick or stone ' Belinda, ' that 
I could have torn the pages to pieces. And, really, I 
have not the heart or the patience to correct her. As the 
liackney coachman said, ' Mend you ! better make a new 
one.' " 

In the same month Maria made a careful arrange- 
ment of the library, and an alphabetical catalogue, 
prepared in her most beautiful handwriting. She 
says, — 

" I have lived upon the ladder, my father deploring the 
waste of time, and the fatigue I underwent." 

She wrote some letters to Mrs. Inchbald, with 
whom she became personally acquainted some time 

[To Mrs. Inchbald.] 

Edgeavorthstown, Jan. 14, 1810. 

I am going to do a very bold thing. Personally a 
stranger to Mrs. Inchbald myself, I am going to take 
the liberty of introducing one of my brothers to her. 
Your kindness to my brother Lovell will perhaps incline 
j'ou more in Sneyd's ^ favor than any thing I can urge. 
... I hope you will not suspect me of the common 
author practice of returning praise for praise, when I 
tell you that I have just been reading, for the third — • 

1 C. Sneyd Edgcwortli, author of a Life of the Abbe Eilgeworth. 


I believe for the fourth — time, "The Simple Story." 
Its effect upon my feelings was as powerful as at the first 
reading. I never read any novel, — I except none, — I 
never read any novel that affected me so strongly, or 
that so completely possessed me with the belief in the real 
existence of all the people it represents. I never once 
recollected the author whilst I was reading it ; never said 
or thought, " That's a fine sentiment," or " That is xcell 
expressed," or " That is well invented." I believed it all 
to be real, and was affected as I should be by the real 
scenes, if they had passed before my eyes : it is truly 
and deeply pathetic. I determined, this time of reading, 
to read it as a critic, or rather, as an author, to try 
and find out the secret of its peculiar pathos ; but I 
quite forgot my intention in the interest Miss Milner and 
Dorriforth excited. But noio it is all over, and that I can 
coolly exercise my judgment, I am of opinion that it is 
by leaving more than most other writers to the imagi- 
nation, that you succeed so eminently in affecting it. By 
the force that is necessary to repress feeling, we judge 
of the intensity of the feeling ; and you always contrive 
to give us, by intelligible but simple signs, the measure of 
this force. Writers of inferior genius waste their words 
describing feelings, -in making those who pretend to be 
agitated by passion describe that passion, and talk of the 
rending of their hearts, etc., — a gross blunder! as gross 
as any Irish blunder ; for the heart cannot feel, and 
describe its own feelings, at the same moment. It is 
" being like a bird in tico places at once." 

What a beautiful stroke is that of the child, who 
exclaims, when Dorriforth lets go his hands, "J had like 
to have been down." 

I am glad I have never met with a Dorriforth, for I 
must inevitably have fallen desperately in love with him ; 


ami, destitute of Miss Miluer's powers of cliarmiug, I 
might have died in despair. Indeed, I question whether 
my being free from some of her faults would not have 
made my ehance worse ; for I have no doubt, that, with 
all his wisdom and virtue, he loved her the better for 
keeping him in a continual panic by her coquetry. I am 
excessively sorry you made her end nanghtUy, though I 
believe this makes the story more moral. Your power 
as a pathetic writer is even more conspicuous in the 
second volume, however, than in the first : for, notwith- 
standing the prodigious and painful effort you retjuire 
from the reader to jump over, at the first page, eighteen 
years, and to behold at once Dorriforth old, and Miss 
Miluer a disgraced and dying mother, with a grown-up 
daughter beside her ; notwithstanding the reluctance we 
feel at seeing Dorriforth as an implacable tyrant, and 
Sandford degraded to a trembling dependent, — yet 
against our will, and absolutel}' against our resolution to 
be unmoved, you master our hearts, and kindle a fresh 
interest, and force again our tears. Nothing can be finer 
than the scene upon the stairs, where Dorriforth meets 
his daughter, and cannot unclasp her hand, and when be 
cannot call her by any name but Miss Miluer, — dear 
Miss Milner. 

I wish Rushbrooke had not been a liar : it degrades 
him too much for a hero. I think yon sacrificed him too 
much to the principle of the pyramid. The mixture of 
the father's character in the daughter is beautiful. As to 
Miss Wordly, who can help loving her, and thinking she 
is their best friend, whoever that may be ? 

INIrs. Horton is an excellent comic. Her moving all her 
things about her room to lessen the embarrassment, and 
her wishing (without being ill-natured) to see a quarrel, 
that she might have some sensations, is admii-able. Did 


j'on really draw the characters from life ? or did yoii in- 
vent them ? You excel, I think, peculiarly in avoiding 
what is commonly called ^^ne writing, — a sort of writing 
which I detest ; which calls the attention away from the 
tiling to the manner, from the feeling to the language; 
which sacrifices every thing to the sound, to the mere 
rounding of a period ; which mistakes stage effect for 
nature. All who are at all used to writing know and 
detect the trick of the trade immediately ; and, speaking 
for myself, I knoio that the writing which has least the 
appearance of literary mamtfacture, almost always pleases 
me the best. It has more originality : in narration of 
fictitious events, it most surely succeeds in giving the 
idea of reality, and in making the biographer, for the 
time, pass for nothing. But there are few who can, in 
this manner, bear the mortification of staying 1)ehind the 
seenes. They peep out eager for appearance, and destroy 
all illusion by crying, I said it, / wrote it, / invented it 
all ! Call me on the stage and crown me directly ! 

I don't know whether you have ever met with a little 
book called "Circumstances respecting the Life of the 
late Charles Montford, Esq., by George Harley, Esq." 
When you have half an hour's leisure, do me the favor 
to look at it : for I think it possesses something of the 
same kind of merit as "The Simple Story ; " though it 
has many faults, and, except now and then, nothing 
like its pathos. But it resembles it in creating the belief 
of its being real. I often thought, while I was reading it, 
this might have been better written ; but I am glad the cir- 
cumstances did not fall into the hands of a professional 
novel-writer, who might perhaps have made more of them 
for common readers, but who would have spoiled them 
for me by the manufacture. It must be true, I thought, 
and the biographer a real friend ; because he cares so 


little about himself and his own writing, so that he does 
justice to the memory of liis friend. 

I have lately been told that it is a mere fiction, and that 
it was written by a gentleman whose name I forget, — a 
brother of Mrs. Trench's : perhaps you know the name. 

My father and JNIrs. Edgeworth beg to be kindly remem- 
bered to you, and wish you would come here and see us, 
as we cannot go to England at present. Can you? 

Will you? 

Affectionately yours, 

Mauia Edgeworth. 

Edgewoethstown, Jan. 15. 

INIrs. Barbauld was busily engaged on the " British 
Novelists," to which iNIaria refers. Maria wrote to 
Mrs. Barbauld as follows : — 

Edgeworthstowx, Jan. IS, 1810. 

My dear Madam, — I have great pleasure in making 
a good beginning of this new year by fulfilling a recpiest 
of" yours. My brother Sneyd will have the honor of 
waiting upon you with "BeHuda." I wish I could be 
of the party ; but, alas ! this is quite out of my power. 
My father, thank God ! has perfectly recovered his health 
and strength : but he is now engaged in an undertaking 
which will attach him for some time to the bogs of Ireland. 
Sneyd will give you an account of the commissioners for 
improving our bogs ; and pray ask him for a history of 
the moving bog in our neighborhood, of the wonders of 
which he has been an eye-witness. I would tell you 
of these, but that he can tell in five minutes what I could 
not write in five. So to return to my own business : " Be- 
linda," I have taken some, and my father has taken a 
great deal of pains, to improve her. In the first volume 
tiie alterations are very slight, and merely ^-erbal. lu the 


second volume Jaclcson is suljstituted for the husband of 
Lucy, instead of Juha ; many people having been scanda- 
lized at the idea of a black man marrying a white woman. 
My father says that gentlemen have horrors upon this 
subject, and would draw conclusions very unfavorable to 
a female writer who appeared to recommend such unions : 
as I do not understand the subject, I trust to his better 
judgment, and end with, — for Juba, read Jackson. 

In the third volume, I have taken out every thing that 
gave encouragement (beyond esteem) to Mr. Vincent ; 
for great complaints were made against Belinda for want 
of constancy to Clarence Hervey, and for jilting Vincent. 
By taking out her consent to marry, I hope I shall, in 
some degree, satisfy all parties. Belinda is but an unin- 
teresting personage, after all ; but I cannot mend her in 
this respect, without making her over again, and, indeed, 
without making the whole book over again. I was not, 
either in Belinda or Leonora, sufflcieutl}^ awai-e that the 
goodness of a heroine interests only in proportion to the 
perils and trials to which it is exposed. 

I have been made still more sensible of my own defi- 
ciencies, by just reading " The Simple Story," which, 
throughout, has such a powerful, irresistible interest. I 
hope you think of it as I do, that it is one of the most 
pathetic tales that ever was written. 

I long, my dear madam, to see your j5re/aces,^ and wish 
for your sake, as well as for that of the public, that they 
were finished ; for I know how any unfulfilled engagement 
of that sort presses upon the mind. 

What a loss, what an irreparable loss, we have had of 
our excellent friend Johnson ! '^ Ask Sneyd to tell you 
how generously, how kindly, he behaved to us in the last 

1 To Mrs. Barbaiikl's edition of the Britisli Novelists. 

2 Mr. Jobuson, the publisher. 


act jilmost of his life. I think tho excoUont character of 
liiin which appeared in ''The Star " could have come from 
uoue but sucli a writer and such a friend as Mrs. Bar- 
bauld. 1 am glad to hear that Johnson's hal)its of lib- 
erality dill not injure his fortune, and that his property 
descends to a representative so worthy of him as INIr. 
Miles. Ask Sneyd, also, how Mr. Miles behaved towards 
us. I know you have pleasure in hearing of instances 
of virtue in whatever class or rank of life. 

Sir James Mackintosh, in writing from Bombay to 
Lis wife, in 1810, pays a pleasant tribute to Maria. 
He says of " Tales of Fashionable Life," after com- 
menting on the utility which he considers a charac- 
teristic of Hogarth's pictures, — 

" Observations somewhat similar may he api)lied to 
Miss Edgeworth's lictions. In my first enthusiasm of 
admiration, I thought that she had first made fiction use- 
ful ; but every fiction since Homer has taught friendship, 
patriotism, generosity, contempt of death. These are 
the highest virtues ; and the fictions which taught them 
were, therefore, of the highest, though not of the mixed, 
utility. Miss Edgeworth inculcates prudence, and the 
virtues of that family. Are these excellent virtues higher 
or more useful than those of fortitude and benevolence ? 
Certainly not. Where, then, is Miss Edgeworth's merit, 
her extraordinary merit, both as a moralist and a woman 
of genius ? It consists in her having selected a class of 
virtues far more difficult to treat as the subject of fiction 
than others, and which had, therefore, been left by for- 
mer writers to her. This is the merit both of originality 
and utility ; but it never must be stated otherwise, unless 
we could doubt that superiority of the Ijcnevolent virtues 


over every other part of morals, which is not a subject of 
discussion, but an indisputable truth." 

" The Edinbiirgli Review " made an attack on Mr. 
Edgevv^ortli's " Professional Education " of the most 
severe style. Mackintosh says of it, — 

"The twenty-ninth [" Edinburgh Eeview "] is distin- 
guished by 's ^ attack on Greek and Latin, under the 

title of a review of Edgeworth's book on ' Professional 
Education.' " 

Mr. Edgeworth's book was made the occasion of 
the reviewer's strictures on the advantages of the 
more modern styles of education over the long- 
approved classical system in vogue at Oxford. The 
book was widely read, and went soon to a second 
edition. One may question the premises, or deny 
the conclusions, of Mr. Edgeworth's argument ; but 
the papers of "Professional Education" contain 
many valuable hints for parents, and the instruc- 
tions of boys. 

In this year INIaria received a novelty as a gift, " a 
worked muslin cap, which cost sixpence, in tambour 
stitch, done by a steam-engine." 

In 1810 Miss Edgeworth wrote of the appearance 
of Lord Byron's poem : — 

" I do not like ' English Bards and Scotch Reviewers ; ' 
though, as my father says, the lines are very strong, and 
worthy of Pope and the ' Dunciad.' But I was so preju- 
diced against the whole, by the first lines I opened upon, 
about the ' Paralytic Muse,' of the man ^ who had been his 

1 Sydney Smith. 2 The Earl of Carlisle. 


guardian, and is liis relation, and to wlioni lie had dedi- 
cated his first poems, that 1 could nut relish his wit. lie 
may have great talents, but I am sure he has neither a 
great nor a good mind ; and I feel dislike aud disgust for 
his lordship." 

Ill the spring the Misses Siieyd and Honora re- 
turned home. 

On the appearance of "The Lady of tlie Lake," 
Miss Edgeworth wrote : — 

" It is a charming poem, a most interesting story, gen- 
erous, finely drawn characters, and in most parts the finest 
poetry ; but for an old prepossession — an unconquerable 
prepossession — in favor of the 'Old Minstrel,' I think I 
should prefer this to either the ' Lay ' or ' Marmion.' " 

She had dreaded the appearance of this poem, and 
wrote, months before it came out : — 

"I do not augur well of the title ' The Lady of the 
Lake.' I hope this lady will not disgrace him." 

At tliis time Maria read the letters of Mme. dii 
Deffand, the old blind Frenchwoman, who was a 
friend and correspondent of Horace Walpole. 

"Some of the letters m her collection are very enter- 
taining, — those of the Duchesse de Choiseul, the Count de 
Broglie, Sir James Macdonald, and a few of Mme. du 
Deffand's : the othe-rs are full of fade compliment, and tire- 
some trifling, but altogether curious as a picture of that 
profligate, heartless, brilliant, and ennuyed society. There ^ 
is in these letters, I think, a stronger picture of ennia 
than in Alfieri's life. Was his passion for the Countess of 
All)any, or for horses, or for pure Tuscan, the strongest? 
or did not he love notoriety better than all three ? ' ' 


In 1810 a Quaker lady, Mrs. Mary Leadbcater, 
who lived at Ballitore, and whose grandfather had 
been tutor to Edmund Burke, sent the MS. of a 
book she had written to Maria, for her advice. This 
lady was the grand-daughter of a learned Quaker, 
Abraham Shackelton, the founder of the school which 
Burke attended in 1741 at Kildare, near Dublin. 
When Edmund Burke lay on his death-bed, he wrote, 
by dictation, a very touching letter to Mrs. Leadbeat- 
er, recalling old school-days, and signed it with his 
own hand. She had published a volume of " Poems " 
in 1808. "The Landlord's Friend" and "Cottage 
Biographies " appeared in 1822. The MS. was called 
"Cottage Dialogues;" and, when Mr. Edgeworth 
heard it read, he was so much pleased with it, that 
Maria offered, at his suggestion, to add a few notes, 
and write a preface for the book. This done, they 
made favorable terms with JNIr. Johnson's successors; 
and the book was well received by the public. 

Among other items of interest. Miss Edgeworth 
refers to the novel of "Patronage," now on the 
stocks, after being laid aside for a long time. 

Edgeworthstown, Aug. 1, 1810. 

My dear Mrs. Barbauld, — Your kind and delightful 
letter gave us all peculiar pleasure ; not only from its 
kindness, and the highly gratifying expressions of a 
regard which we knoiv to be sincere, but from its proving 
to us that your mind has resumed all its energy, and that 
you have recovered from that cruel ^ and unavoidable 
depression of spirits. You can hardly know, unless you 

1 Death of Mr. Barbauld. 


were with us, my dear Mrs, Barbaiikl, how much we 
rejoiced at this, nor how earnestly we desire to add, if 
we could, to your happiness. Why cannot you cross this 
vile sea, and be with us in a week? Look at the frank 
of this letter. AVith pride I bid you look and see that it 
is franked by your pupil Lord Selkirk, a pupil who does 
you the greatest honor, a pu[)il who sets you the best 
example too ; for this is his second visit to Edgeworths- 
town. And you ! — 

Lord Selkirk begs me to remember him to you in the 
most respectful and kind manner, and I am sure 3'ou will 
be glad to hear that he seems in perfect health and happi- 
ness. His arrival, and that of a succession of visitors, 
prevented my finishing the errata for " Griselda " as soon 
as I wished, and must now be my apology for sending 
them to you in their blotted and blurred state ; for I really 
have not time this day to copy them, and I fear to delay 
your printer. 

Your observations on ' ' Professional Education ' ' are 
as solid as they are elegantly expressed. My father 
thanks you for them with his whole head and heart. He 
is correcting the book for a second edition, and he will 
avail himself of your remarks about the impossibility in 
some classes of life of the parents early deciding the 
child's profession. 

I thank j^ou, my kind and able defender, for the essay 
in "The Gentleman's Magazine." May it ever be my 
fate to be so attacked and so defended ! We did not 
know the essay was written by you : but the moment we 
read it we were struck, not only with its strength and 
ability, but with its judicious zeal ; and we settled that 
it must be written by some friend who was warmly and 
personally interested for us. 

Can you suppose that any one in this house could see 


an advertisement of a book of Miss Aikin's without 
immediately sending for it? But, alas! you little know 
how long it is before our impatience to see new publica- 
tions can be gratified. In the centre of Ireland, we wait 
sometimes months before we can get possession of the 
books we long for. We have not yet " The Lady of the 
Lake " of our own; though we have begged and borrowed 
her, and though we wrote for her the moment we heard 
that she was about to appear in the world. For " Epis- 
tles on Women" we wrote at the same time, and again 
and again and again ! And now we have forbid Sneyd, 
who is coming over, to appear before us, unless he brings 
it with him, or unless he sends it (as I have desired him 
till I am hoarse) under cover to Edward Connor, Esq., 
Dublin Castle. What has prevented his doing this, I 
cannot imagine, and really wish I could beat him for it. 

We have not yet given up all hopes of seeing you in 
England. My father talks of going to London in spring, 
but I dare not feed my fancy on these " pictured tales of 
bright heroic deeds." I know this, however, for certain, 
that if we do reach London ever again, nothing can pre- 
vent our having the pleasure of seeing you and hearing 
you. My father has quite recovered his health, and is 
as liusy in the vast Hibernian bogs as possible. I don't 
know whether he will improve tliem^ but I am sure they 
have improved liim; for the air and exercise have quite 
renovated him. Mrs. Edgeworth sends her real love to 
you, which, I assure you, she never sends as words, of 
course, to anybody. She is again in blooming hpalth, 
and her darling little Francis repays her for all she has 
suffered for him. He has all his father's liveliness of 
look, and quickness of motion ; and he is, without excep- 
tion, the best-humored little mortal of his j^ears (of his 
mouths, I mean) that I ever saw. He is now croioing and 


(lanoino; at the window, lookino; out fit liis sistors wlio are 
making hay. 1 ain unu-li iiK-linccl to believe that he has a 
natural genius for happiness, — in other words, as Sydney 
Smith would say, great hereditary " eonstitutioual joy." 

I am very well, and have been very idle lately, but 
intend to be industrious. I have, however, begun a story 
on "Patronage," and wish I could talk with you about 
it for half an hour, or even five minutes. It is so vast 
a subject that it flounders about in my hands, and over- 
powers me. I have also written a preface and notes (for 
I, too, will be an editor) for a little book which a A'cry 
worthy countrywoman of mine is going to publish, — Mrs. 
Leadbeater, granddaughter to Burke's first preceptor. 
She is poor. She has behaved most handsomely about 
some letters of Burke's to her grandfather and herself. 
It would have been advantageous to her to publish them ; 
Init, as Mrs. Burke (Heaven knows why) objected, she 
desisted. The Bishop of Meath afterwards persuaded 
Mrs. Burke that the letters would be highly honorable to 
Burke's menior}^ and Mrs. Burke retracted, and gave her 
permission ; but Mrs. Leadbeater, who is a very scrupu- 
lous (Quaker, conceived that, having once j^^'omised not to 
publish them during Mrs. Burke's life, she should not 
break this promise. This is, perhaps, a foolish delicacy, 
but it is a fault on the right side. The book she is now 
going to publish, " Cottage Dialogues," will be, I hope, 
for Ireland what the " Cottagers of Glenburnie " are for 
vScotland, — minus the humor of the cottagers. I do not 
pretend to say that the dialogues are equal in humor or 
ability to Mrs. Hamilton's book, but I think they will do 
as much good in this country as hers did in Scotland. 
And they give such an excellent picture of the modes of 
living of the lower Irish, that I am in hopes they will 
interest m England. Of this she, poor, modest, simple 


creature, had not the least hope or idea, till we suggested 
it. We took her MSS. out of the hands of an Irish pub- 
lisher ; and our exeelleut friend's worthy successor in St. 
Paul's Churchyard has, on our recommendation, agreed 
to publish it for her. She accepts from me a preface and 
notes for the mere English reader. 

Adieu, my dear Mrs. Barbauld, abruptly, but most 
sincerely and affectionately. 

Your obliged, 

Maria Edgeworth. 

Maria mentioned tliis kind act of hers in the most 
modest way to Mrs. Barbauld, with " I, too, will be 
an editor." She was " hard at work on Mrs. Lead- 
beater. I am afraid my notes are rubbish.'" 

Mrs. Leadbeater trusted entirely to the successors 
of Mr. Johnson, and was most kindly treated by them. 
Maria and her father were much gratified by their eon- 
duct. The following letter of Mr. Edgeworth, thank- 
ing them, shows how much jNIaria appreciated this. 

My dear Gentlemen, — I have just heard your letter 
to Mrs. Leadbeater read by one who dropped tears of 
pleasure, from a sense of your generous and handsome 
conduct. I take great pleasure in speaking of you to the 
rest of the world as you deserve, and I cannot refrain 
from expressing to yourselves the genuine esteem that I 
feel for you. I know that this direct praise is scarcely 
allowa1)le ; but my advanced age, and my close connection 
with you, must be my excuse. 

Yours sincerely, 

R. L. E. 

Edgewokthstown, May 31, 1811. 


Tliis autumn the famous theatricals took place 
at Kilkenny. Maria, Avitli her father and mother, 
attended them. She enjoyed as much the celebrated 
people who attended them, as the plays. At the 
castle of Kilkenny, the head of the Butlers held 
splendid entertainments in old Irish style. Private 
theatricals were greatly in vogue in Ireland during 
the early part of the century. The princely mansion 
of Carton, the seat of the Duke of Leinster, was one 
of the places where the beauty and brilliancy of the 
nobility appeared on the board. Lord Charlemont, 
Lady Louisa Conolly (aunt of the Napiers), the Coun- 
tess of Brandon, Lady Rachel Macdonald, Countess 
Kildare, Viscount Powerscourt, Henry Grattan, and 
others took part. " The Beggar's Opera " was there 
performed with fine effect. At the Latouches, at 
Lord O'Neill's, at the Marquis of Ely's (where the 
name of Lord Edward Fitzgerald is on the bills), 
at Lord Grandison's, at Dromana in Waterford, 
where the name of Prince William Henry (after 
William IV.) is found, there were gay and lively 
theatrical performances. 

Of all the Irish plays, those of Kilkenny Castle 
were the most noted. 

' ' In the company were Tom Moore ; "Wilson Croker, 
who wrote some eliarraiug ballads for them ; Chief-Justice 
Bushe ; the Bishop of Meath ; Sir Philip Crampton, the 
celebrated surgeon ; Sir Wrixou Beecher and Miss O'Neill, 
who afterward became his wife. Kilkenny, during the 
theatrical season, saw a vast assemblage of rank and 
talent. The streets of that now deserted city were 
thronged with chariots and horses, and parties of ladies 


ridiug on horseback. Assembling from all parts of Ire- 
land, there was great eagerness among the gentry to 
become acquainted with one another ; and curiosity was 
always restrained to learn the names and histories of all 
the remarkable and interesting characters. . . . Cramp- 
ton was considered the best Sir Lucius 0' Trigger seen on 
the stage ; but Mr. Corry, who was grand-uncle of Lord 
Eowton, Lord Beaconsfield's secretary and friend, was 
the star of the company, the most familiar with stage 
manners, and most natural in his by-play. Then, how 
many associations rise to the mind at the name of Moore ! 
At the time he took an active part in the Kilkenny theat- 
ricals, he was at the very height of his social powers, 
though not of his literary fame ; and probably only those 
who knew Moore as he appeared in the Kilkenny company 
are qualified to judge of the full extent of them. The 
vivacity and archness of his manner, the ease and grace 
of his humor, and the natural sweetness of his voice, 
charmed every one. He contributed two prologues to the 
plays of Kilkenny. The last time Miss O'Neill played 
with the company was in 1819, when she played Descle- 
mona; her future husband. Sir Wrixon Beecher, playing 
lago. Never was there seen such impersonation before 
or since." 

In Moore's diaries he describes Mrs. Lefanii, 
Sheridan's sister, and then tells how he took part 
in some plays where she performed. He was to 
speak the epilogue to " A Squeeze to St. Paul's ; " 
and, when the time came for " Master Moore's " per- 
formance, he was found nearly asleep behind the 
scenes, being but eleven years old at this time. 

DUBLIN. 255 


A Visit to Dublin. — Church-Spire Buikling. — "Patronage." — 
"The Absentee." — Raising of the Spire constrneted by Mr 
Edgeworth. — Maria makes Visits in Ireland. — 181:!, the Edge- 
worths make a Visit to London. — Enthusiastic Reception of 
Maria. — She makes many New Friends. — Misses ^fme. de Staiil. 
— The Party travel through England before they return to Ire- 
land. — Sir James Mackintosh. 

In November of 1810 INIaria, with her father, ]\Irs. 
Edgeworth, and some of the family, ^yent to Dublin 
to attend the lectures of Humphry Davy. These 
lectures were very interesting to Maria, and con- 
firmed her high idea of his talents, which she formed 
many years before this time, when she first met him 
at Bristol. On this occasion they made the acquaint- 
ance of several eminent people. Solicitor-General 
Bushe, and his brother-in-law, Sir Philip Crampton, 
they had met before, but became quite intimate with 
them after this visit to Dublin. They also made 
the acquaintance, which ripened later into an inti- 
macy, of Mr. Romney Robinson, then a very young 
man, just beginning his career of astronomer at the 
observatory, with Dr. Brinkley. 

In 1811 ]Mr. Edgeworth was busil}^ engaged on 
the plan and construction of a spire for the church 
in Edgeworthstown. 

Maria had an odd letter, in 1811, from some young 


ladies, who signed themselves " Clarissa CraA^^en, Ra- 
chel Biddle, and Eliza Finch," — " who, after sundry 
compliments in very pretty language, and with all 
the appearance of seriousness, beg that I will do 
them the favor to satisfy the curiosity that they feel 
about the wedding-dresses of the Frankland family 
in ' The Contrast.' I have answered them in a way 
that will stand for jest or earnest. I have said, that, 
at a sale of Admiral Tipsey's smuggled goods, Mrs. 
Hungerford bought French cambric-muslin wedding- 
gowns for the brides, the collars trimmed in the most 
becoming manner, as a Monmouthshire milliner as- 
sured me, with Valenciennes lace from Admiral Tip- 
sey's spoils. I have given all the j)articulars of the 
bridegrooms' accoutrements, and signed myself the 
young ladies' 'obedient servant, and, perhaps, dupe.'' " 
Maria was constantly at work on "Patronage" 
during this time ; and, in spite of all sorts of inter- 
ruptions from the presence of many visitors who 
were attracted to their pleasant home, she persevered 
steadily, working several hours each day. During 
the summer months, Mr. Edgeworth was busily en- 
gaged on the supervision of the spire; and Maria 
was greatly interested in the success of this curious 
undertaking. In August she wrote a little play, 
called "The Absentee," for the children of her sis- 
ter, Mrs. Beddoes, who were with them at Edge- 
worthstown. After this had been performed by 
these children, and Maria's half brothers and sisters, 
she decided to offer it to Sheridan. He said the 
lord-chamberlain would refuse to sanction its per- 
formance, in the divided condition of Ireland at that 


time. When she thoiiglit of sending the play to 
Sheridan, the family copied it for her, each taking a 
certain part ; and, b}^ working very late, the perfect 
copy was finished in one evening. This little play 
was afterwards made the groundwork of the story 
known as "The Absentee." The idea of an Irish 
absentee family living in London had originally 
formed part of "Patronage." The absentees were 
patients of Dr. Percy. 

" Patronage " was at first intended to form part 
of a second series of " Fashionable Tales," with 
" Vivian," and " Emilie de Coulanges ; " but finding 
that she could not possibly complete this story in 
two volumes, and as Mr. Miles was anxious to pub- 
lish the second set of " Tales " early in the ensuing 
year, Maria again laid aside " Patronage ; " and, using 
the sub-plot of the Irish absentee family, she made 
" The Absentee." " The Absentee " formed a vol- 
ume and a half of the second set of " Tales." Ma- 
ria liked the story very much, after she really prepared 
the plan of it. She changed the name of Tipperary 
to Clonbrony, for certain reasons of her own. The 
famous letter of Larry, the postilion, which ends 
"The Absentee," is unrivalled as a specimen of 
Irish wit. Lord Jeffrey said of the epistle of Larry 
Brady, the good-natured post-boy, to his brother, 
giving an account of the return of the family to 
Clonbrony, — 

"If Miss Edgeworth had never written any other 
thing, this one letter must have placed her at the very 
top of our scale as an observer of character, and a mis- 
tress of the simple pathetic." 


We have somewhat anticipated events in speaking 
of the end of " The Absentee," and must return to 
the summer of 1811. Mr. Davy made another visit 
to Edgeworthstown on his way to Connemara tliis 
season, "for he was a little mad about fishing." 
Maria found him "full of entertainment and in- 
formation, as usual." 

Maria watched with interest the approaching per- 
fection of the spire. She describes the trial of it in 
July, when, a signal being given, " the four men at 
the corner capstans work the windlass ; and, in a few 
moments, with a slow, majestic motion, the spire 
begins to ascend. Its gilt ball and arrow glitters 
higher and higher in the sun, and its iron skeleton 
rises by beautiful degrees, till, in twelve minutes and 
a half, its whole transparent form is high in air, and 
stands composed and sublime in its destined situa- 
tion." On the 19th of September the final ascent 
of this spire was made, in the presence of a large 
assemblage of friends and relatives. The company 
included, according to their old servant Jack Lan- 
gan's "triumphant calculations, five lords and baro- 
nets." This piece of work was considered worthy 
of a description in "Nicholson's Journal," a scien- 
tific work of the day. The spire was standing in 
safety within a decade, unshaken by the storms of 
many years. 

Maria wrote the following interesting account of 
the preparation of the ascent, and the day, which 
follows : — 

"In the year 1811 my father was occupied in con- 
structing, upon a plan of his owu iuveutiou, a spire for 


the church of Edgcworthstown. This spire was formed 
of a skeleton of iron, covered with slates, painted and 
sanded to resemble Portland stone. It was put together 
on the iiround, within the tower of the church ; and, when 
finished, it was to he drawn up at once, with the assist- 
ance of counterbalancing weights, to the top of the tower, 
and there to be fixed in its place. 

"The novelty of the construction of this spire, even 
in this its first skeleton state, excited attention ; and as 
it drew towards its completion, and near the moment 
when, with its covering of slates, altogether amounting 
to many tons' weight, it was to move, or not to move, 
fifty feet from the ground to the top of the tower, every- 
body in the neighborhood, forming different opinions of 
the probability of its success or failure, became interested 
in the event. 

" Several friends and acquaintance, in our own and 
from adjoining counties, came to see it drawn up. For- 
tunately it happened to be a A'ery fine autumnal day ; and 
the groups of spectators of different ranks and ages, 
assembled and waiting in silent expectation, gave a pic- 
turesc^ue effect to the whole. A bugle sounded, as the 
signal for ascent. The top of the spire, appearing 
through the tower of the church, began to move upward : 
its gilt ball and arrow glittered in the sun, while, with 
motion that was scarcely perceptible, it rose majestically. 
Not a word nor interjection was uttered by any, even of 
the men who worked the windlass at the top of the 

"It reached its destined station in eighteen minutes; 
and then a flag streamed from its summit, and gave notice 
that all was safe. Not the slightest accident or difficulty 
occurred. The conduct of the whole had been trusted to 
my brother William (the civil engineer) ; and the first 


words my father said, when he was congratulated upon 
the success of the work, were, that his son's steadiness 
gave him infinitely more satisfaction than he could feel 
from the success of any invention of his own. 

" The spire was well secured, and pi'ovided with a con- 
ductor before he left the place. This proved a wise pre- 
caution ; for that very evening, the weather changing 
suddenly, a storm of wind, thunder, and lightning lasted 
during the night. In the morning the first thing of which 
we thought, the first point to which we looked, was the 
spire ; but my father had not been anxious, and experi- 
ence has hitherto justified his confidence. In thirty-two 
years since its erection, no change has been perceptible in 
the perpendicularity of this spire ; though the slightest 
alteration would have been detected, as, by a singular 
coincidence, the spindle of the weathercock was precisely 
in the plane of a vertical wire of the transit instrument in 
the observatory in our house." 

Spires of similar construction were erected at 
Cork and Enniskillen after this. 

The following little extract from Hall's " Travels 
in Ireland " will be of interest to the reader as giv- 
ing a glimpse of home life : — 

"From none to whom I had been introduced, did I 
meet a more hospitable reception than from Mr. Edge- 
worth of Edgeworthstown, of whom, and his daughter 
Maria, to whom I had also a letter of introduction, I had 
heard and read so much. As the covetous man rejoices 
in the prospect of adding to his stores, and the pious man 
at the prospect of those meetings where the fire of devo- 
tion will be made to burn more purely, in hopes of the 
feast of reason and the flow of souls, I approached Edge- 
worthstown, so much of late the abode of the Muses. 


" Mr. Ecl<rcworth and liis daufrlitor, l)oinp; alioiit to take 
an airing in tlio carriage when 1 called, wliieli was soon 
after breakfast, and a very line day. asked nie to a(;eoni- 
pany them ; to which 1 readily assented, and was nuieh 
pleased with their remarks on the objects which occurreil 
in the course of our ride. 

" When we returned from our ride, I foimd the rector of 
the parish, the Koman-Catholic priest, and the rresl)yte- 
rian clergyman had been invited to dine ; and, that there 
might be no preference shown to one clergyman before 
another at dinner, Mr. Edgew'orth said grace himself. In 
this hospital>le mansion, the favorite al>ode of the Muses, 
the rendezvous of the wise and good. Papists and Prot- 
estants agree. Miss Edgeworth joined in the conversa- 
tion ; and, as may well be supposed, the author of ' Castle 
Rackreut,' ' Irish Bulls,' 'The Absentee,' etc., served 
nuich to enliven and inform it. I had heard much of Miss 
Edgeworth, and knew that she antl her father had taken 
an extensive view of the vast editice of human knowledge, 
but fouud that not one-half of her numerous amiable ac- 
complishments had been told me. Of her it may be said : 
' Omue quod tetigit ornavit.' 

"When I mentioned, that having orreries, armillary 
spheres, globes, and the apparatus necessary for giving 
some idea of the various branches of experimental philos- 
ophy, various persons are employed in giving lessons on 
these subjects at ladies' boarding-schools. Miss Edge- 
worth seemed not displeased, as she and her father, in 
their ' Letters on Education,' had recommended something 
of the kind. 

"As Mr. Edgeworth's children are all instnicted at home, 
the system of education recommended to others is prac- 
tised in his own famil3\ I observed three of his daughters, 
fine little girls, busily employed in sewing a covering of 


patches of various colors for a poor family in the vicinity, 
who had once been servants in the house. As soon as 
the work should be finished, the girls were themselves to 
make the present ; and to this period I found them looking 
forward with more than ordinary pleasure. 

"The children are never long confined at one time, their 
hours being spent alternately in diligence and play. In- 
deed, children should seldom be idle, but constantly em- 
ployed in exercising either the mind or body. 

"Whatever be the result of the system of education 
which Mr. Edgeworth and his daughter have recommended, 
I must say I never saw such marks of filial regard, parental 
affection, and domestic happiness as at this house. To 
reside at it, is to see almost realized such scenes of hap- 
piness as nowhere exist, but are sometimes presented in 
the descriptions of enchanted castles. Miss Edgeworth is 
none of those, as some would make us believe, who write 
merely for bread ; she having an independent fortune, be- 
sides what she must now make by the rapid sale of her 
works. By such books as those of Miss Edgeworth, 
booksellers fatten, and men are made wiser and better. 
It is needless to mention that Mrs. Edgeworth is also a 
successful author, haviug published the novel, or what 
3^ou choose to call it, ' The Good Wife.' " 

The marriage of Mr. Davy to the celebrated Mrs. 
Apreece, in 1812, brought forth many hon mots in 
society. One of these was quoted by Maria : — 

" To the famed widow vainly bow 
Church, army, bar, and navy. 
Says she, ' I dare not take a vow, 
But I will take my Davy.' " 

Another good one she mentioned : — 


" For inaiiy nioii liave ofton seen 
'J'linir tali'iits underrated ; 
But Davy owns tliat his have been 
Duly Ajipreeciated." 

" The Absentee " was finished in July of 1812, and 
Maria at once resumed " Patronage." 

In the autumn of this year Mr. Edgeworth made 
an addition of a bow-window to the little bedroom 
always used by Maria ; and she enjoyed this very 
much, as it gave her a better view of her garden. 

iSIaria made some visits during this year to her 
friends at Black Castle and Pakenham Hall. Lord 
Longford had a good story from Col. Hercules 
Pakenham, which is worth repeating as he told it to 
Maria : — 

"At the siege of Badajos, as he was walking with an 
engineer, a boml) whizzed over their heads, and fell among 
the soldiers ; and as they were carr3ung off the wounded, 
when the colonel expressed some regret, the engineer said, 
' I wonder you have not steeled your mind to these 
things. These men are carried to the hospital, and 
others come in their place. Let us go to the depot.' 

' ' Here the engineer had his wheelbarrows all laid out in 
nice order, and his pickaxes arranged in stars and various 
shapes ; but, just as they were leaving the depot, a bomb 
burst in the midst of them. 'Oh, heavenly powers, my 
picks ! ' cried the engineer in despah. ' ' 

[To Mrs. Inclibald.] 

Edgewortustowx, Sept. 16, 1812. 
The best thanks to you, my dear Mrs. Inchbald, for 
your letter would be to have seen how ranch pleasure 
that letter gave to this whole family, — father, mother, 


lirotlior, sister, author! The strength and originality of 
your thouglits and expressions distinguish your letters 
from all we receive ; and when we compared it with one 
from Walter Scott, received nearly at the same time, and 
read both letters again to determine which we liked best, 
upon the whole the preference was given, I think, by the 
whole breakfast-table (a full jury) to Mrs. Inchbald's. 
Now, I must assure you, that, as to quantity of praise, 
I believe Scott far exceeded you ; and as to qualit}^, in 
elegance none can exceed him ; but still, in Mrs. Inch- 
bald's letter there was an indefinable originalit}^, and a 
carelessness about her own authorship, and such warm 
sympathy', both for the fictitious characters of which she 
had been reading, and for that Maria Edgeworth to 
whom she was writing, as carried away all suffrages. "We 
particularly like the frankness with which you find fault 
and say such and such a stale trick was unworthy of us. 
None but a writer who has herself excelled could, as you 
did, feel and allow for the difficulties in composition ; nor 
could any other so well judge where I was wrong or right 
in dilating or suppressing. I am glad you trembled lest 
I should have produced old Reynolds again. Most of 
those who have mentioned him to me have regretted that 
they did not see more of him, and have longed to have 
heard of his meeting with his daughter. 

It is of great use as well as delight to us to see any 
thing we write tried upon such a person as j^ou, who will 
and can do what so few have either the power or cour- 
age to attempt, — tell the impression really made upon their 
feelings, and point out the causes of those impressions. 

I do not know what you mean by saying that every 
sensible mother is like Lady Mary Vivian : you are re- 
quested to explain. I wish I could find any excuse for 
begging another letter from you. 


Perliopfi we shall, as we at present intend, l)e in Lon- 
don next sprinp;. 

Last niy;lit my father and I were nnndn'rini;- the people 

we should wish to see. Our list is not very numerous, 

but INIrs. Inchbald is one of the first persons we at the 

same momeut eagerly named. Believe me to be, my dear 


Your obliged and grateful 

Maria Edgewokth. 

Maria had an excursion in October of this year to 
Dublin, with some of the family, where they wit- 
nessed with interest a balloon ascension. 

[To Mrs. luclibald.] 
]\rY DEAR Mrs. Inxiibald, — Your letters, like your 
books, are so original, so interesting, and give me so 
much the idea of truth and reality, that I am the more 
desirous to l)e personally acquainted with you ; and in 
this wish I am most heartily joined by Mrs. Edgeworth, 
a person whom, though you have not seen in print, you 
would, I'll answer for it, like better than any one author 
or authoress of your acquaintance, as I do, my father 
only excepted: for further particulars, inquire of S. E. 
We rejoice most exceedingly that you like him, and are 
sure that the deeper you go into his character, the better 
it will suit you. I wish you would try what Edgeworths- 
town could do to excite agreealjle emotions in your mind. 
Upon your own principle, the sea would be as good for 
you as a free or a high wind. Danger there is none, — 
except in the imagination, — not even to create a sensa- 
tion. Sea-sickness is over in a few hours ; and my 
father, who is more sea-sick than most people, bid me 
tell you just now, as he got ou horseback, that you are a 


goose if you don't come to us. How dare I write such a 
word ? But I wish you to know my father and all of ns 
just as we are. If you will oblige us, consult Sneyd, and 
he will show you how very easily the journey and voyage 
could be arranged. 

There are some authors whose books make so much the 
best part of them, that one can think of uothiug else in 
writing to them ; but in writing to Mrs. Inchbald, I can 
at this moment think of nothing but the wish to see her, 
and to enjoy her society. 

Yours sincerely, 

Maria EDGEwoRxn. 

I remember once, when I had gone on a wiLo-goose 
chase to a friencVs house, who turned out to be a fine lady 
instead of a friend, I was just in the solitary, melancholy 
state you describe ; and I used to feel relieved and glad 
when the tea-urn came into the silent room, to give me a 
sensation by the sound of its boiling. 

" Patronage " was all ready for publication early 
in 1813 ; but, as Mr. Edgeworth had planned a visit 
to England in the spring, it was decided to delay its 
appearance till after they had returned to Ireland. 

Maria was charmed with " Rokeby," and, after 
reading it with interest, made the following com- 
ment on it : — 

" ' Rokeby ' is, in my opinion, — and let every soul 
speak for themselves, — most beautiful poetry. I like it 
better, think it more universal style of poetry than he has 
yet produced, though not altogether perfect of its kind." 

This criticism does more credit to Maria's inde- 
pendence of judgment than to her poetical taste. 


The last of March, 1813, Mr. and Mrs. Edgewortli 
and Maria left their home for England. I'hey did 
not hurry to London, but made several little visits 
on their way thither. They saw Mr. Roscoe at his 
home near Liverpool, Allerton Ilall. 

" lie is a benevolent, cheerful, gentlemanlike old man 
[wrote Maria of the historian of the De Medicis], tall, 
neither thin nor fat, thick gray hair. lie made what 
seemed to me a new and just observation, that writers of 
secondary powers, when tliey are to represeut either ob- 
jects of nature, or feelings of the human mind, always 
begin by a simile. They tell you what it is like, not what 
it is." 

They visited the Hollands at Kentsford, and saw 
Dr. Ferrier and his daughter at Manchester. Maria 
tells a good story of Dr. Holland when he was a 
little boy. 

He wrote a letter, when he was six years old, to 
the king. 

" His father found him going with it to the post. This 
letter was an offer from Master Holland to raise a regi- 
ment. He and some of his little comrades had got a 
drum and flag, and used to go through the manual exer- 
cises. It was a pity the letter did not reach the king : he 
would have been delighted with it. 

They made a delightful visit at the Strutts of 
Derby, the great cotton manufacturers, who enter- 
tained much. Tom iVIoore just missed them : he 
writes, they " were our predecessors at this house." 
They also went to Byrkeley Lodge, the home of Mr. 


Sneyd, near Derby, and visited the Priory, and Mrs. 
Darwin and her daughters. Tlien they went to Cam- 
bridge, and saw the college-buildings and some of 
the professors, enjoying the fine architecture and the 
scholarly repose of tlie place. On the way Maria, as 
was her custom in the course of a long journey, read ; 
and Miss Austen's " Pride and Prejudice " was her 
book. She had the capacity of receiving great pleas- 
ure from the writings of others ; rather an unusual 
one for one who wrote so much. She names reading 
as her greatest pleasure always, and has a kindly 
word for each new aspirant for literary hon- 

They reached London early in the "season," and 
found themselves most cordially welcomed by tlic 
fashion and culture of the London world. London 
society was then more centred and concentrated. 
The great metropolis had not swallowed its suburbs ; 
and as yet there was a unity, a centralization, of the 
social forces of the best literary and aristocratic 
elements. Now London is too vast, too full of sets, 
to afford to any one observer the possibility of enjoy- 
ing more than a passing view of the panorama of its 
social life. When the Edgeworths visited it in 1813, 
the attractions of London were not so diffused, so 
broken up ; and they found themselves for a few 
weeks the very centre of attention and interest. 

This love of London people, like that of the 
Athenians, for a new thing has long been noticed by 
literary people. Sir Walter Scott said of this pecul- 
iar passion for novelty in 1806, — 

LONDON. 269 

" Wliat a good name was in Jorusalcni, a Vnoxon nanio 
secins to bo in London. If you are celebrated for writ- 
ing verses or for slicing cucnnibers, for being two feet 
taller or two feet less than other bipeds, for acting plays 
when you should be whipped at school,^ or for attending 
schools and institutions when you should be preparing 
for your grave, — your name not only becomes a talisman 
— an 'Open Sesame' — before which every tiling gives 
way, till you are voted a bore, and discarded for a new 

Years after this Scott remarked, " Who cares for 
the whipped cream of London society?" after a 
dinner at Lady Davy's to meet " Lord and Lady 
Lansdowne and several other fine folks." 

The position of Miss Edgeworth could not be 
that of a discarded plaything : she was to take and 
keep a permanent place in the hearts of many friends 
made on this visit. She made many visits in Lon- 
don, and the same good friends were ever ready to 
welcome her. 

Macaulay had a word for the "lion-hunters" when 
he says, — 

" There is nothing more pitiable than the ex-lion or 
ex-lioness. London, I have often thought, is like the 
sorceress in the ' Arabian Nights,' who, by some mysteri- 
ous law, can love the same object only forty days. Dur- 
ing forty days she is all fondness : as soon as they are 
all over, she not only discards the poor favorite, but turns 
him into some wretched shape, — a mangy dog or spavined 
horse. How many hundreds of victims have undergone 
this fate since I was born ! ' ' 

1 Master Betty. 


There is a great deal of truth in this observation 
of Macaula}- ; forty days being about the extent of 
time which would be allowed the lion of one London 

Maria had the solid attractions which gave her 
superiority over the transient stars of this firma- 
ment ; and then, too, she was modest and unexacting. 
London society has, however, made and kept many 
favorites. The name of Samuel Rogers is an exam- 
ple of this. One observer said of his reputation, — 

"This comes of being in the best society in London. 
What Lady Jane Granville ^ called the ' patronage of 
fashion ' can do as much for a middling poet as for a 
plain girl like Arabella Falconer." 

Miss Edgeworth has been accused, by some critics, 
of an undue partiality to the pleasures of fasiiiona- 
ble life : why, it is hard to imagine. She naturally 
saw much of the gay world during her various visits 
to the cities of Paris and London ; but then, too, 
her interest was as much excited by scientific and 
literary people, and she availed herself of every 
opportunity for study and examination of new scien- 
tific discoveries. 

Maria found herself famous, but bore all the atten- 
tions she received with great modesty. Her great- 
est pleasure appears to have been — amid all the 
gayety and the brilliancy of London — the sight of 
her father honored and respected by England's great- 
est minds. One judges, from all accounts, that the 
worthy gentleman shone with the reflected brilliancy 
1 Miss Edgeworth's Patronage. 

LONDON. 271 

borrowed from the fame of his daughter's genius. 
Talents he had of no mean order ; but the trutli is 
more than ever impressed upon the mind, that Mr. 
Edee worth was somewhat of a lore. 
After they left London she wrote, — 

" The brilliaut panorama of London is over ; and I 
have enjoyed more pleasure, and have had more amuse- 
ment, infinitely more, than I expected, and received more 
attention, more kindness, than I could have thought it 
possible would be shown to me. I have enjoyed the 
delight of seeing my father esteemed and honored by 
the best judges in P^ngland. I have felt the pleasure of 
seeing my true friend and mother — for she has been a 
mother to me — appreciated in the best society ; and now, 
with the fulness of content, I return home, loving my 
own friends and my own mode of life preferably to all 
others, after comparison with all that is fine and gay, and 
rich and rare. ' ' 

Among the many new and pleasant acquaintance 
made by ^Liria in the delightful visit may be men- 
tioned some very distinguished people. She met, for 
the first time, her correspondent, Mrs. Lichbald, and 
enjoyed the pleasure of an evening at the great Mrs. 
Siddons's. She met the Miss Berrys of Horace Wal- 
pole, Lady Crewe, "who still has the remains of 
much beauty." INliss Catherhie Fanshawe she " par- 
ticularly " liked, — " she has delightful talents." Of 
Lord Byron she said, " I can tell you only this, that 
his appearance is nothing that you would remark." 
Lady Byron she mentioned as "the charming, well- 
informed daughter of Lady Milbanke." She always 


was interested in her, and Mr. Harness considered 
her a good friend of Lady Byron. 

The kindness of Sir Hum23hry and Lady Davy 
was very agreeable to Miss Edgeworth. One great 
woman she desired much to meet, but it was not to 
be. " I fear Mme. de Stael's arrival may be put off 
till after we leave town. The Edinburgh review of 
her book has well prepared all the world for her," 
she wrote. These very distinguished women were 
never to meet. Apropos of this, there is a good 
story Moore tells : — 

' ' In talking of getting into awkward scrapes at din- 
ner-tables, Lady Dimmore mentioned a circumstance of 
the kind, in which Rogers was concerned. It was at the 
time when Mme. de Stael was expected in Loudon, and 
somebody at table (there being a large party) asked 
when she was likely to arrive. ' Not till Miss Edgeworth 
is gone,' replied Rogers : ' Mme. de Stael would not like 
two stars shining at the same time.' The words were 
hardly out of his mouth, when he saw a gentleman rise 
at the other end of the table, and say in a solemn tone, 
' Mme. la Baronne de Stael est incapable d'une telle bas- 
sesse.' It was Auguste de Stael, her son, whom Rogers 
had never before seen." 

Lady Elizabeth Whitbread became a devoted friend 
of Miss Edgeworth ; and she often visited her in her 
own home, when she was in London, in after-years. 
The names of Miss Fox, Mrs. Hope (Lady Beres- 
ford). Lady Spencer, Lady Charlotte Lindsay, the 
Countess of Charleville, Mrs. Siddons, may be num- 
bered as those wlio paid Maria distinguished courte- 
sy, and the acquaintance was long continued. 

LONDON. 273 

"While in London the Princess of Wales wished 
Maria to visit her. She did not like to do so ; and Lady 
Wellington referred the matter to Lady Liverpool, then 
considered the best anthority on snch matters. She ruled 
that she niiglit decline the invitation by the simple form 
of, ' Sorry she can't — previous engagement.' " 

Of one of the new friends made on this occasion, 
JNIaria says, — 

"Lady Lansdowne, taking in beauty, character, con- 
versation, talents, and manners, I think superior to any 
woman I have seen ; perfectly natural, daring to be her- 
self, gentle, sprightly, amiable, and engaging." 

Slie says they saw "Lydia White, who has been 
very kind to us, and eager to bring together people 
who would suit and please us ; very agreeable dinner 
at her house ; she conducts these bel esprit parties 
well: her vivacity breaks through the constraints of 
those who stand upon great reputations, and are 
afraid of committing themselves." 

There was a dinner at Mr. Horner's, where the 
Edgeworths had quite an adventure with Dr. Parr. 
He was exceedingly angry with the party for delay- 
ing the dinner, and then interrupting it ; and finally 
he ended by giving Maria his blessing. They spent 
a day at Hampstead with the Carrs, old friends of 
Mrs. Barbauld. They also saw Mrs. Barbauld her- 
self, in her own quiet home at Stoke Newington. 

In Henry Crabbe Robinson's diary, he tells the fol- 
lowing anecdote. He went to Mrs. Barbauld's, and 
"had a pleasant chat with her about Mme. de Stael, 
the Edgeworths, etc. The latter are staying in Lon- 


don, and the daughter gains the good-will of every 
one ; not so the father. They dined at Sotheby's. 
After dinner Mr. Edgeworth was sitting next Mrs. 
Siddons, Sam Rogers being on the other side of her. 
' Madam,' said he, ' I think I saw you perform 
" Millamont " thirty-five years ago.' — ' Pardon me, 
sir.' — ' Oh ! then it was forty years ago : I dis- 
tinctly recollect it.' — 'You will excuse me, sir, I 
never played "Millamont."' — 'Oh, yes! madam, 
I recollect.' — 'I think,' she said, turning to Mr. 
Rogers, 'it is time for me to change my place;' 
and she rose with her own peculiar dignity." 

Maria was happy in seeing an old friend and rela- 
tion, and says, — 

"Charming, amiable Lady Wellington ! As she truly 
said of herself, she is always 'Kitty Pakenham to her 
friends.' After comparison with crowds of others, beaux 
esjmts, fine ladies, and fashionable scramblers for noto- 
riety, her dignified simplicity rises in one's opinion ; and 
we feel it with more conviction of its superiority. She 
showed us her delightful children." 

One of the parties which Miss Edgeworth at- 
tended was a "rout," in the parlance of the day, 
given by Mr. and INIrs. Morris. There she met Mrs. 
Inchbald, who was an intimate friend of the family. 
Mr. Morris was a talented man, fellow of Peter 
House, Cambridge, member of Parliament for New- 
port, and master in chancery. He wrote two come- 
dies, which were successfully acted at Drury Lane 
Theatre, — " False Colors " and " The Secret." Mrs. 
Inchbald was very anxious to meet Miss Edgeworth, 


which she did on this occasion. A little later " the 
same friends gave her a dinner with the future 
and ex lord chancellors, Lord Erskine and Mr. 
Brougham; and in the evening the unrivalled 
painter of Irish manners again." 

In a letter which Mrs. Inchbald wrote to her par- 
ticular friend Mrs. Phillips, of her introduction to 
the two great literary visitors in London during this 
year, she says, — 

"She (Mme. de Stael) talked to me the whole time; 
so (lid Miss Edgeworth whenever I met her in company. 
These authoresses suppose me dead, and seem to pay a 
tribute to my memory ; but with Mme. de Staiil it seemed 
no passing compliment." 

Boaden thinks Mrs. Inchbald's complacency re- 
ceived a severe shock by the kind of attention these 
ladies paid her. He speaks of it thus: "The last 
sigh of expiring complacency seems to have heaved 
above the pen," which wrote of her meeting her sis- 
ter authoresses. 

Miss Edgeworth was very much gratified on her 
part by making the personal acquaintance of one 
whom she had long admired and respected. Her 
pleasure is shown by the long letter she Avrote after 
her return to Ireland. She highly appreciated the 
opportunity of paying her respects to one of Mrs. 
Inchbald's talents. 

An observer says of the morning they spent at 
Westminster Abbey with Sir James ^Mackintosh, — 

" Only one morning : daj's might have been spent witli- 
out exhaustmg the information he so easily, and with such 


enjoyment to himself as well as to his hearers, poured 
forth with quotations, appropriate anecdotes, and allusions, 
historical, poetical, and biographical, as we went along." 

Mackintosh himself wrote from London to his 
daughters in the East, May 11, 1813: — 

"Mr., Mrs., and Miss Edgeworth are just come over 
from Ireland, and are the general objects of curiosity and 
attention. I passed some liours with them yesterday 
forenoon, under pretence of visiting the new mint ; which 
was a great object to them, as they are all proficients in 
mechanics. Miss Edgeworth is a most agreeable person, 
very natural, clever, and well-informed, without the least 
pretensions of autliorship. She had never been in a large 
society before ; and she was followed and courted by all 
the persons of distinction in London, with an avidity 
almost without example. The court paid to her gave her 
an opportunity of showing her excellent understanding 
and character. She took every advantage of her situation, 
either for enjojnnent or observation ; but she remained 
perfectly unspoiled by the homage of the great. Mr. 
Edgeworth is like his daughter, with considerable talents 
and knowledge ; Mrs. Edgeworth, very sensible and agree- 
able. Upon the whole, the party make a great acquisi- 
tion to London, where they propose to stay a month." 

The party attended a grand ball at Mrs. Hope's, 
where there were nine hundred guests, " all of 
beauty, rank, and fashion that London can assem- 
ble." Mr. Edgeworth attended a meeting of the 
Lancastrian schools, at Freemason's Tavern. The 
Duke of Bedford, after speaking of the fourteenth 
report of the Irish Board of Education, pronounced 
a eulogium on the excellent letter which is appended 

MME. d'arblay. 277 

to that report, full of liberality and good sense, on 
Avliich, indeed, the best part of the report seems 
founded ; adding, " I mean the letter by Mr. Edge- 
worth, to whom this country, as well as Ireland, is 
so much indebted." 

They missed Mme. d'Arblay, as well as Mme. de 
Stael, by their departure from London; but Maria 
tells as " an extraordinary evidence of the ignorance 
in which Napoleon I. kept the French people, that 
when Mme. d'Arblay landed at Portsmouth a few 
months ago, and saw on a plate at Admiral Foley's 
a head of Lord Nelson, and the word Trafalgar, she 
asked what Trafalgar meant. She actually, as Lady 
Spencer told me, who had the anecdote from Dr. 
Charles Burney, did not know the English had been 
victorious, or that Lord Nelson was dead ! " 

The following bon mot of the wits of the day was 
related by Lord Carrington to her : — 

" Pretty, pretty, pretty fly, 
If I were you, and you were I — 
But out upon it. That cannot be : 
I must remain Lord Salisbury." 

She was much impressed with the journal of Lord 
Carrington's little grandchild, and says, — 

"We have just seen a journal, by a little boy of eight 
years old, of a journey from England to Sicily : the boy 
is Lord Mahon's son. Lord Carrington's grandson. It is 
one of the best journals I ever read, full of facts ; ex- 
actly the writing of a child, but a very clever child." 

This "clever child" became the historian, Lord 


The following extract from a diary of Lord Byron 
(1821), written at Ravenna, is of interest to the 
reader as describing Maria during this London visit. 

"In 1813 I recollect to have met them in the fashion- 
able world of London (of which I then formed an item, 
a fraction, the segment of a circle, the unit of a million, 
the nothiog of something) , in the assemblies of the hour, 
and at a breakfast of Sir Humphry and Lady Davy's 
to which I was invited for the nonce. . . . 

"I thought Edgeworth a fine old fellow, of a clarety, 
elderly, red complexion, but active, brisk, and endless. 
He was seventy, but did not look fifty, — no, nor forty- 
eight even. I had seen poor Fitzpatrick not very long 
before, — a man of pleasure, wit, eloquence, all things. 
He tottered, but still talked like a gentleman, though 
feebly. Edgeworth bounced about, and talked loud and 
long ; but he seemed neither weakly nor decrepit, and 
hardly old. 

"He began by telling 'that he had given Dr. Parr a 
dressing, who had taken him for an Irish bog-trotter,' etc. 
Now I, who know Dr. Parr, and who know {not by expe- 
rience, — for I never should have presumed so far to 
contend with him, — but by hearing him ivith others, and 
of others) that it is not so easy a matter to dress him, 
thought Mr. Edgeworth an asserter of what was not true. 
He could not have stood before Parr an instant. For the 
rest, he seemed intelligent, vehement, vivacious, and full 
of life. He bids fair for a hundred years. 

"He was not much admired in London ; and I remember 
a ' ryght merrie ' and conceited jest which was rife among 
the gallants of the day; viz., a paper had been presented 
for the recall of Mrs. Siddons to the stage (she having 
lately taken leave, to the loss of ages ; for nothing ever 


was, or can be, like her) , to which all men had been called 
to subscribe. Whereupon Thomas Moore, of profane 
and poetical memory, did propose that a similar paper 
should be st<Z/scribed and ctrcu?Jiscribed for the recall of 
Mr. Edgeworth to Ireland.^ 

"The fact was, everybody cared more about her. She 
was a nice, little, unassuming ' Jeanie Deans looking 
body,' as we Scotch say, and, if not handsome, certainly 
not ill-looking. Her conversation was as quiet as herself. 
One would never have guessed she could write her name; 
whereas her father talked, not as if he could write noth- 
ing else, but as if nothing else was worth writing. 

"As for Mrs. Edgeworth, I forget, except that I 
think she was the youngest of the party. Altogether, 
they were an excellent cage of the kind, and succeeded 
for two months, till the landing of Mme. de Stael. 

" To turn from them to their works, I admire them ; 
but they excite no feeling, and they leave no love, — ex- 
cept for some Irish steward or postilion. However, the 
impression of intellect and prudence is profound — and 
may be useful." 

In " Don Juan," Byron writes of the learned lady- 
mother of Don Juan as supposed to paint his own 
wife's character. He says among other things, 
some of them very disagreeable, — 

" In short, she was a walking calculation, 
Miss Edgeworth's novels stepping from their covers, 
Or Mrs. Trimmer's books on education," etc. 

" The Begum of literature," as Tom Moore called 
Mme. de Stael, made a triumphal journey through 

1 In this I rather think he was misinformed: whatever merit 
there may be in tlie jest, I have not, as far as I can recollect, the 
slightest claim to it. — Mooke's Note. 


England ; where, a few years before, she had lived 
the life of an exile at Juniper Hall in Surrey. Her 
London season was a series of brilliant displays ; and 
meteor-like she dazzled the eyes of the observer, 
where her modest sister in literature would only 
have shone with a gentle, yet steady, serene light. 
Her nature was well described by herself when she 
said, in her epigrammatic style, of the scene stretched 
before her at Richmond, " Calme et animee ce qu'il 
faut etre, et ce que je ne suis pas." 

A meeting between Miss Edgeworth and Mme. 
de Stael would have gratified Maria, who often 
regretted her failure in this respect in after-years. 

Mr. Edgeworth left London early in June ; and, 
after visiting the Kings at Clifton, they went to 
Gloucester, where Maria saw an old friend, Mrs. 
Chandler, who was very kind to her in early years 
when she visited Mr. Day, and suffered with the 
inflammation in her eyes. Thence they went to Mal- 
vern Links, where Mrs. Beddoes was living. 

They made a visit after that at Mrs. Clifford's, " a 
beautiful country not far from Ross." Maria was 
interested in seeing the scenes of " the Man of Ross." 

At Mrs. Clifford's, says an observer, " we had one 
day of brilliant conversation between Maria, her 
father, and Sir James Mackintosh, who had just 
come into that neighborhood. He joined us unex- 
pectedly one morning as we were walking out, and 
touching a shawl Mrs. Clifford wore, 'A thousand 
looms,' he said, ' are at work in Cashmere providing 
these for you." Mackintosh sacrificed himself to 
his conversation. Rogers said of him, that he read 


for it, thought for it, and gave up future fame for it. 
Some one else said that he would write any thing 
but his history which he had engarjed to do ; and 
these brilliant days in salons of Paris, dmners in 
London, and weeks in country-houses, finally frittered 
away this learned man's talents. 



Ketum to Ireland. — Maria begins the New Series of "Early Les- 
sons." — A Visit from Miss Elizabeth Hamilton and Other 
Friends. — " Patronage " published. — Lord Dudley. — Mrs. Inch- 
bald. — "Waverley." — Maria writes Scott. — A Visit to Dublin. 
— Ill Health of Mr. Edgeworth. — A Visit from Mr. Ward. — 
Anecdotes. — Maria at Work on " Harrington " and " Ormond." 

In July Maria had " begun a new series of ' Early- 
Lessons ' (the second parts of ' Frank,' ' Rosamond,' 
and ' Harry and Lucy '), for which many mothers 
told " her they wished. She felt the pleasure of re- 
turning to literary work, after the gayety and variety 
of the exciting social life of London and the visits 
in England. She had "a famishing appetite for 
reading," after her long deprivation of that daily 
resource. In August they had a visit from Miss 
Elizabeth Hamilton, who was, as Maria said, very 

" I like Miss Elizabeth Hamilton better than ever upon 
further acquaintance. vShe is what the French would call 
''honne (X vivre:' so good-humored, so cheerful, so little 
disposed to exact attention or to take an authoritative 
tone in conversation, so ready to give everj^body their 
merits, so indulgent for the follies and frailties, and so 
hopeful for the reformation of even the faults and vices, 
of the world, that it is impossible not to respect and love 
her. She Avins upon us daily, and mixes so well with this 
family that I always forget she is a stranger." 

MISS HA]\nLTON. 283 

Miss Hamilton in a letter to Joanna Baillic, writ- 
ten after her return to Scotland, said, — 

"We went from friend to friend zigzag througli the 
lieart of the country, till we reached the north ; hut I 
think, of all the visits we paid, that which would he to 
you the most interesting was our visit to Edgcworthstown. 
I rejoiced to hear that you and Miss Edgeworth had met 
in London ; but to see her to advantage, — indeed, to form 
any idea of her excellence, — she must be seen at home. 
There the sweetness of her disposition, the greatness 
and simplicity of her character, is continually exciting 
one's admu'ation and respect. And there Mr. Edgeworth 
appears in more favorable colors than in mixed society : 
so that he gained every day in our esteem. The rest of 
the family are amiable and agreeable, and all seem united 
to each other in the bonds of the most perfect sympathy." 

Among the other visitors of this summer were 
Lord Carrington, Mr. Smith, Lord Gardner, and 
Lord and Lady Lansdowne. 

Miss Edgeworth, being asked by Campbell for her 
impressions of Mrs. Siddons, wrote him as follows : — 

Dear Sir, — I heard Mrs. Siddons read at her town- 
house a portion of "Henry VIII." I was more struck 
and delighted than I ever was with any reading in my 
life. This is feebly expressing what I felt. I felt that I 
had never before fully understood or sufficiently admired 
Shakspeare, or known the full powers of the human voice 
and the English language. Queen Katharine was a char- 
acter peculiarly suited to her time of life and to reading. 
There was nothing that required gesture or vehemence 
incompatilile with the sitting attitude. The composure 
and dignity, and the sort of suppressed feeling, and 


touches, not bursts, of tenderness, — of matronly, not 
youthful, tenderness, — were all favorable to the general 
effect. 1 quite forgot to applaud : I thought she was 
what she appeared. The illusion was perfect till it was 
interrupted by a hint from her daughter or niece, I forget 
which, that Mrs. Siddons would be encouraged by some 
demonstrations given of our feelings. I then expressed 
my admiration, but the charm was broken, — 

" To Barry ^ we gave loud applause, 
To Garrick, only tears." 

Yours, etc., 
1813 (undated). 

M. E. 

Edgewokthstown, Dec. 19, 1813. 

My dear Mrs. Inchbald, — I have desired our pub- 
lisher to send you "Patronage" before it is published. I 
will not tell you of my/eors or of my hopes, in sending it 
to you. You will understand them all ; and I am confident 
that you will write to me at least as frankly, now you 
have seen me, as you did before ice met. I do not say, 
before we became acquainted with each other ; for, in the 
crowds in which we met, it was impossible to become ac- 
quainted with any degree of rational intimacy. 

We have to thank you, however, and we heartily do 
thank you, for the effort you made to gratify us, which 
succeeded completely. My father desires me to saj", that 
he cannot help hoping that "Patronage" will come to a 
second edition ; and he trusts that you know we are glad 
to profit by good advice when we can get it : therefore 
he earnestly expects j'our corrections for a second edition. 

Mrs. Edge worth and my father beg their kind remem- 

1 Spranger Barry was the son of a Dublin silversmith. His 
Othello was considered unsurpassed. 

" PATRONAGE." 285 

brauces to you, and request j'ou will assure ]\Ir. and Mrs. 
Morris that wo are not ungrateful travellers ; that we 
retain a full sense of tlu'ir kind and ])<)lite attentions to 
us ; and that we thank them sincerely for introducing us 
to one whom we had long earnestly desii'cd to know. 
I am, my dear Mrs. Inchbald, 

Yours truly, 

Marl\. Edgeworth. 

In January, 1814, ]\Iiss Edgeworth had from Hunt- 
er the bookseller " a whole cargo of French transla- 
tions : ' Popular Tales,' with a title under which I 
should never have kno'v\ai them, — ' Conscils a ]Mon 
Fils.' 'Manoeuvring,' — 'La Mere Intrigante.' 'En- 
nui,' — what can they make of it in French? 
' Leonora ' will translate better than a better thing. 
' Emilie dd Coulanges,' I fear, will never stand 
alone. 'L' Absent,' — 'The Absentee,' — it is im- 
possible that a Parisian can make any sense of it 
from beginning to end; but these tilings teach 
authors what is merely local and temporary. ' Les 
deux Griseldas de Chaucer et Edgeworth.' And, to 
crown all, two works surreptitiously printed in Eng- 
land, under our names, and which are no better than 
they should he" 

Sir James Mackintosh, in a letter of Dec. 24, 
1813, first speaks of Mme. d'Arblay's new novel, 
and then sa3-s, — 

"Miss Edgeworth's new novel (' Patronage '). also in 
four volumes, is expected in a few days. The doubts re- 
specting it are chiefly founded on its length, or its being 
a novel, which is not so much her province as tales. I 


have, however, little doubt that both (Mme. d'Arblay 
and this) will be excellent, though perhaps not invulnera- 
ble to the attacks of this sneering town." 

" Patronage " was published early in 1814, and, 
with certain exceptions of the critics, well received; 
being reviewed at length by " The Edinburgh " and 
"The Quarterly." 

Lord Dudley, who was an enthusiastic admirer of 
Miss Edgeworth, wrote the article on " Patronage " 
in " The Quarterly." He greatly admired her tal- 
ents, considered her to be endowed with an origi- 
nal genius of high order, and enlarged on the re- 
markable qualities of self-restraint which she exhib- 
its. He is impressed with the sacrifices she has 
made, which he thinks are peculiarly her own ; 
among them, that of resolutely subduing her color- 
ing, and painting her characters with the sober tints 
of real life. He calls her the "anti-sentimental 
novelist," and considers that she has formed a new 
style of writing novels. He justly points out, that 
while humor, pathos, general information, observa- 
tion of society, extensive study, are all shown in her 
writings, though the hand of the author is never per- 
ceived, she is singularly deficient in the capacity for 
framing a plot. Earl Dudley's criticism is a very 
clever and thorough piece of work, and pleased 
Miss Edgeworth. 

In 1814, by the desire of the Edge worths, Mrs. 
Inchbald wrote a critique upon " Patronage ; " the 
characteristics of which will be very easily seen by 
Maria's letter of acknowledgment : — 


Edgewortiistowx, Feb. 14, 1814. 

My dear Mrs. Ixchbald, — Nobody living but yourself 
could or would have written the letter I have just received 
from you. I wish you could have been present when it 
was read at our breakfast-table, that you might have seen 
what hearty entertainment and delight it gave a father, 
mother, author, aunts, brothers, sisters, all, to the number 
of twelve. Loud laughter at your utter detestation of poor 
Erasmus, as nauseous as his medicines, and your impa- 
tience at all the variety of impertinent characters who 
distract your attention from Lord Oldborough. Your 
clinging to him quite satisfied us all. It was on his char- 
acter my father placed his dependence ; and we all agreed 
that if you had not liked him, there would have been no 
hope for us. We are, in the main, of j^our opinion, that 
Erasmus and his letters are tiresome ; but then, please to 
recollect that we had our moral to work out, and to show 
to the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the reader how in 
various professions young men may get on without pat- 
ronage. To the good of our moral we were obliged to 
sacrifice : perhaps we have sacrificed in vain. Wherever 
we are tiresome, we may be pretty sure of this ; and after 
all, as Mme. de vStael says, "good intentions go for 
nothing in works of wit" much better in French, "la 
bonne intention n'est de rien en fait d'esprit." 

You will make me forswear truth altogether ; for I find 
whenever I meddle with the least bit of truth I can make 
nothing of it, and it regularly turns out ill for me. Three 
things to which you object are facts, and that which you 
most abhoi is most true. 

A nobleman whom I never saw, and whose name I have 
forgotten (else I should not have used the anecdote), 
said the word which you thought I could not have writ- 
ten, and ought not to have known how to spell. But 


pray observe the fair authoress does not say this odious 
word iu her owu proper person. Why impute to me the 
characteristic improprieties of my characters ? I meant to 
mark the contrast between the niceness of his Grace's 
pride and the coarseness of his expression. I have now 
changed the word ' ' severe ' ' into ' ' coarse, ' ' to mark this 
to the reader ; but I cannot alter, without spoiling, the fact. 
I tried if saliva would do, but it would not : so you must 
bear it as well as you can, and hate his Grace of Green- 
wich as much as 3'ou will ; but don't hate me. Did you 
hate Cervantes for drawing Sancho Panza eating behind 
the door? 

My next fact is an old story. Maj^be so ; and may- 
be it belonged to j'our widow originally : but I can assure 
you it happened very lately to a gentleman in Ireland, 
and only the parting with the servant was added. I 
admit the story was ill told, and not worth telling ; and 
you must admit that it is natural, or it would not have 
happened twice. 

The sixpence under the seal is my thn-d fact. This 
happened in our own family. One of my own grand- 
father's uncles forged a will, and my grandfather recov- 
ered the estate my father now possesses by the detection 
of the forgery by a sixpence under the seal. I quite 
agree with you that it was ill judged and awkward to tell 
that the old man was perjured, before his perjury was 
detected. I have sent to have that altered. I wish, if 
it is not too much trouble, you would take the trouble to 
alter it for me, and send your corrections to Johnson, St. 
Paul's Churchyard, to Mr. Miles : for I have not, and 
cannot get, the fourth volume ; and I have been obliged 
to write to the corrector of the press, and to trust to his 
discretion, and he may bungle it. I hope the fourth vol- 
ume will not be reprinted before this reaches you. 


Tliank j'ou, thank 3-011, tlmnk you, for likiii.2; the two 
Chiys ; l)ut pray ilou't envelop all the eountry geutlenu 11 
of England in EncjUsh Ckuj. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, says my father, 
for liking Lady Jane Granville. Her ladyship is his 
favorite, but nobody has ever mentioned her in their let- 
ters but yourself. I cannot believe you ever resembled 
that selfish, hollow Lady Angelica. 

Would you ever have guessed that the character of 
Rosamond is like me? All who know me intimately say 
it is as like as it is possible : those who do not know me 
intimately would never guess it. 

Sueyd is in Dublin with his l)ride, — a bride no more, 
but dearer as a wife than bride. She was a Miss Broad- 
hurst, and was called an heiress l)ecausc she had consid- 
erable independent property. I draw largely on your 
belief in my veracity, when I assure you, vpon my word, 
that this lady was utterly unknown to me and to this 
family when I wrote ''The Absentee;" and that I took 
the name of Broadhurst because it did not belong to any 
person I knew, and drew the character from pure imagi- 
nation. Snejxl never thought of her till after "The 
Absentee" was published. Aftencards, perhaps, it led 
them a little towards each other. Is not this a curious 
coincidence? I hardly dare tell it, it has so much the 
air of falsehood. She is very amiable, — not handsome, 
but a tall, not a little, plain, girl. Ha is happy, as you 
know he is capable of being, from having found a wife 
exactly suited to him, and of whom he is passionately 

I know enough of Mrs. Morris to be sorry for her, 
truly sorry, and for that kind-hearted Mr. Morris. She 
is exceedingly like IMrs. Edgeworth's eldest daughter, 
Fanny, of whom I am not a little fond. This likeness 


struck Mrs. Edgewortli and I (me) so much that it added 
to our iucliuatiou to be iuthiiate with Mrs. Morris ; aud 
I thiuk I could not have long resisted jumping from 
acquaintanceship to familiarity with her, and fondness. 
Alas ! perhaps I shall never see her again, or see her 
quite an altered person, with all the difference between 
happy aud unhappy, — what a prodigious difference ! 
Only those who have felt both can know. But with fine 
children, and such a disposition as hers, she cau never 
be utterly unhappy ; and, for her comfort, I know a gen- 
tleman, whom all the faculty gave over in the same com- 
plaint, who has lived, nevertheless, for years. 

Pray tell us if you hear that Mr. Morris is better; 
and, whenever you can^ remember us kindly to her. Mrs. 
Edgeworth says she must write a few lines to you herself, 
and I will not deprive you of what would be a pleasure 

to me. 

Your obliged aud grateful, 

Maria Edgevtorth. 

" Patronage," as first published, was different from 
the present book in some minor details. Miss Edge- 
worth made these changes in the third edition. The 
critics approved of them. It is a very unusual 
thinff for an author to alter a book when it has made 
its appearance ; but, in this case, the changes were 
considered improvements. She makes Caroline go 
abroad with Count Altenberg after their marriage, 
and Mr. Percy is not put in prison. In the early 
editions Caroline staid to console her father and 
mother, and Mr. Percy was thrown into prison by 
his creditors. 

Maria visited her brother Sneyd and his wife in 

" WAVEKLEY." 291 

their home, Baggot Street, Dublin, in March, 1814. 
Mr. Edgeworth had a very dangerous iUness in 
April, after their return to Edgeworthstown. Lov- 
ell Edgeworth returned home on the 10th of May, 
liberated, after the long, weary fourteen years of 
detention, by the peace of Paris. 

The appearance of "Waverley" was hailed by 
INIiss Edgeworth as the work of a master-hand, and 
marking a new era in the novel-writing of tlie world. 
She wrote, " I am more delighted with it than I can 
tell you : it is a work of first-rate genius." When 
"Waverley" was about to appear. Sir Walter Scott 
desired Ballantyne to send a copy of it to Miss 
Edgeworth, with an inscription from the author. 

Lockhart says that she "thanked the nameless 
novelist, under cover to Ballantyne, with the cordial 
generosity of kindred genius." This is true ; but it 
is equally true that Maria had not received this gift 
from the author when she sat down, late at night, 
in the first fever of enthusiasm, after reading the 
story. She began to write before she heard the 
" Postscript ; " and, as her father had exclaimed 
when the book was closed, ^'- Aut Scotus, aut Dia- 
bolus,'" Maria placed these words at the top of her 
letter. Before she finished it, one of the family 
opened the book again, and saw the "Postscript." 
On reading this, Maria rather reluctantly stopped 
to hear it; not dreaming of the handsome tribute 
Scott paid her in it. 

Maria was much touched and surprised by these 
words of Scott. He says, — 


"It has becu my object to describe those persons, not 
by a caricatured and exaggerated use of the national dia- 
lect, but by their habits, manners, and feelings ; so as in 
some distant degree to emulate the admirable Irish por- 
traits drawn by Miss Edgeworth ; so different from the 
' Teagues ' and 'dear joys,' who so long, with the most 
perfect family resemblance to each other, occupied the 
drama and the novel." 

He paid her a fine compliment some years later, in 
his general preface to the series of " Waverley Nov- 
els." The following is Miss Edgeworth's letter to 
the unknown author : — 

Edgeworthstgwi?, Oct. 23, 1814. 
'•'■ Aut Scotus, mit Diabolus." We have this moment 
finished "Waverley." It was read aloud to this large 
family : and I wish the author could have witnessed the 
impression it made, — the strong hold it seized of the 
feelings, both of young and old ; the admiration raised 
by the beautiful descriptions of nature, by the new and 
bold delineations of character ; the perfect manner in 
which every character is sustained, in every change of 
situation from first to last, without effort, without the 
affectation of making the persons speak in character ; 
the ingenuity with which each person introduced in the 
drama is made useful and necessary to the end ; the ad- 
mirable art with which the story is constructed, and with 
which the author keeps his own secrets till the precise 
proper moment when they should be revealed, — whilst, iu 
the mean time, with the skill of Shakspeare, the mind is 
prepared by unseen degrees for all the changes of feeling 
and fortune, so that nothing, however extraordinary, 
shocks us as improbable ; and the interest is kept up to 


the last moment. "We were so possessed with the belief 
that the wliole story and every eharueter in it was real, 
that we could not endure the occasional addresses from 
the author to the reader. They are like Fielding; but 
for that reason we cannot bear them : we cannot l)ear 
tliat an author of such high powers, of such original 
genius, should for a moment stoop to imitation. This is 
the only thing we dislike ; these are the only passages we 
wish omitted in the whole work ; and let the uncjuahfied 
manner in which I say this, and the very vehemence of 
my expression of this disapprobation, be a sure pledge to 
the author of the sincerity of all the admiration 1 feel for 
his genius. I have not yet said half we felt in reading 
the work. The characters are not only finely drawn as 
separate figures, but they are grouped with great skill, 
and contrasted so artfully, and yet so naturally, as to pro- 
duce the happiest dramatic effect, and at the same time 
to relieve the feelings and attention in the most agreeable 
manner. The novelty of the Highland world, which is 
discovered to our view, excites curiosity and interest 
powerfully ; but, though it is all new to us, it does not 
embarrass or perplex or strain the attention. We never 
are harassed by doubts of the probability of any of 
these modes of life. Though we do not know them, we 
are quite certain they did exist exactly as they are repre- 
sented. We are sensible that there is a peculiar merit in 
the work, which is, in a measure, lost upon us, — the dialects 
of the Highlanders and the Lowlanders, etc. But there 
is another and a higher merit, in which we are as much 
struck and as much delighted as any true-born Scotchman 
could be : the various gradations of Scotch feudal char- 
acter, from the highborn chieftain and the military baron, 
to the nol)le-minded lieutenant Evan Dlui, the robber 
Bean Lean, and the savage Calhnn Beg. The Pre-- 


The Chevalier is beautifully drawn. "A prince: ay, 
every inch a prince." His polished manners, his exqui- 
site address, politeness, and generosity, interest the reader 
irresistibly ; and he pleases the more from the contrast 
between him and those who suri-ouud him. I think he is 
my favorite character: the Baron Bradwardine is my 
father's. He thinks it required more genius to invent, 
and more ability uniformly to sustain, this character than 
any one of the masterly characters with which the book 
abounds. There is, indeed, uncommon art in the manner 
in which his dignity is preserved by his courage and mag- 
nanimity, in spite of all his pedantry and his ricUcnles, 
and his bear and bootjack, and all the raillery of Mac- 
Ivor. Maclvor's unexpected "bear and bootjack " made 
us laugh heartily. 

But to return to the dear good baron. Though I ac- 
knowledge that I am not as good a judge as my father 
and brothers are of his recondite learning and his law 
Latin, yet I feel the humor, and was touched to the quick 
by the strokes of generosity, gentleness, and pathos, in 
this old man ; who is, by the by, all in good time, worked 
up into a very dignified father-in-law for the hero. His 
exclamation of " Oh, my son, my son ! " and the yielding 
of the fictitious character of the baron to the natural 
feelings of the father, is beautiful. (Evan Dhu's fear 
that his father-in-law should die quietly in his bed made 
us laugh almost as much as the bear and the bootjack.) 

Jiuker in the battle, pleading the cause of the mare he 
had sold to Balmauwhapple, and which had thrown him for 
want of a proper bit, is truly comic. My father says this, 
and some other passages respecting horsemanship, could 
not have been written by any one who was not master 
both of the great and little horse. 

I tell you without order the great and little strokes of 


humor and pathos just as I recollect, or am reminded of 
them at this moment by my companions. The fact is, that 
we have had the volumes only during the time we could 
read them, and as fast as we could read, lent us as a 
great favor by one who was happy enough to have secured 
a copy before the first and second editions were sold in 
Dublin. When we applied, not a copy could be had : we 
expect one in the course of next week, but we resolved to 
write to the author without waiting for a second perusal. 
Judging by our feelings as authors, we guess that he 
would rather know our genuine first thoughts, than wait 
for cool second thoughts, or have a regular eulogium or 
criticism put in the most lucid manner, and given in the 
finest sentences that ever were rounded. 

Is it possible that I have got thus far without having 
named Flora or Vich Ian Vohr, — the last Vich Ian Vohr! 
Yet our minds were full of them the moment I liegan this 
letter ; and could you have seen the tears forced from us 
by their fate, you would have been satisfied that the pathos 
went to our hearts. Ian Vohr, from the first moment he 
appears till the last, is au admirably drawn and finely sus- 
tained character, — new, perfectly new, to the English 
reader, often entertaining, always heroic, sometimes sub- 
lime. The Gray spirit, the Bodach Glas, thrills us with 
horror. Us ! "What effect must it have upon those under 
the influence of the superstitions of the Highlands? This 
circumstance is admirably introduced. This superstition 
is a weakness quite consistent with the strength of char- 
acter, perfectly natural after the disappointment of all his 
hopes, in the dejection of his mind, and the exhaustion 
of his bodily strength. 

Flora we could wish was never called "Miss Maclvor ; " 
because in this country there are tribes of vulgar INIiss 
Macs, and this association is unfavoral)le to the sublime 


and beautiful of yoiir Flora. She is a true heroine. Her 
first appearance seized upon the mind and enchanted us 
so completely, that we were certain she was to be 3^0 ur 
heroine, and the wife of your hero. But with what inim- 
itable art you gradually convinced the reader that she was 
not, as she said of herself, capable of making Waverley 
iKippy. Leaving her in full possession of our admiration, 
you first made us pity, then love, and at last give our 
undivided affection to Eose Bradwardine — sweet Scotch 
Eose. The last scene between Flora and Waverley is 
highly pathetic. ]\Iy brother wishes that ' ' bridal gar- 
ment " were " sJu-oud," because when the heart is touched 
we seldom use metaphor, or quaint alliteration: "bride 
favors," " bridal garment." There is one thing more we 
could wish changed or omitted in Flora's character. I 
have not the volume, and therefore cannot refer to the 
page : but I recollect in the first visit to Flora, when she 
is to sing certain verses, there is a walk in which the 
description of the place is beautiful, but too long; and we 
did not like the preparation for a scene, — the appearance 
of Flora and her harp was too like a common heroine. 
She should be far above all stage effect or novelists' tricks. 
These are, without reserve, the only faults we found or 
can find in this work of genius. We should scarcely have 
thought them worth mentioning, except to give j'ou proof 
positive that we are not fiatterers. Believe me, I have 
not, nor can I convey to you the full idea of the pleasure, 
the delight, we have had in reading " Waverley," nor of 
the feeling of sorrow with which we came to the end 
of the history of persons whose real presence had so 
filled our minds. AVe felt that we must return to the flat 
realities of life, that our stimulus was gone ; and we were 
little disposed to read the "Postscript," — which should 
have been a preface. 


" "Well, let us hear it," said my father ; and Mrs. Edge- 
worth read on. 

Oh, my dear sir, how much pleasure would my father, 
my mother, my whole family, as well as myself, have 
lost, if we had not read to the last page ! And the pleas- 
ure came upon us so unexpectedly ! "NYe had been so 
completely absorbed, that CA-ery thought of ourselves, of 
our own authorship, was far, far awa}'. 

Thank you for the honor you have done us, and for the 
pleasure you have given us, great in proportion to the oi)in- 
ion we had formed of the work we had just perused ; and 
believe me, every opinion I have in this letter expressed 
was formed before any individual in the famil}^ had peeped 
to the end of the book, or knew how much we owed you. 
Your obliged and grateful 

Makia Edgeworth. 

The intense interest of tlie reading public over 
each new " Waverley " noyel was also felt in the 
literary world. There was not much doubt as to 
the autliorship among Scott's literary friends. Miss 
Hamilton said of " Waverley " and " Guy Manner- 
ing," "though the name of Scott does not grace the 
titlepage, it is seen on every other page of both per- 

Miss Catherine Sinclair said to Sir Walter before 
he confessed himself to be the author of the novels, 
" If you will tell me Avhich of these novels jou. pre- 
fer, I shall tell you in return which of them has the 
preference given to it bv a very good authority, — 
Miss Edgeworth." Sir Walter agreed to the bar- 
gain : and she told him that her brother had put the 
question to Miss Edgeworth ; and she replied to Mr. 


Sinclair, " There is a freshness about the first novel, 
which, in my opinion, gives it an undoubted superi- 
ority over all the rest." — " Well, Miss Sinclair," said 
Sir Walter, " I, for my part, enjoyed ' The Antiquary ' 
more than any other. There are touches of pathos 
in it which much affected me, and I had many a 
hearty laugh at the expense of the antiquary him- 
self." — "Yes," replied Miss Sinclair, "the author of 
these novels, whoever he may be, is alwaj^s laugh- 
ing at somebody ; and, in the case of the antiquary, 
the person he is laughing at is evidently himself." 

In January of 1815 Mr. and Mrs. Sneyd Edge- 
worth went to England, and they offered their 
house in Dublin to Mr. Edge worth. Maria passed 
some weeks very pleasantly in Dublin, with her 
father and mother. Mr. Edgeworth had been invited 
by the Dublin Society to try some experiments on 
wheel-carriages, which he successfully did during 
this visit. During this winter Mr. Edgeworth, 
whose health had been failing since his illness of the 
previous year, was under the kind and friendly care 
of Sir Philip Crampton, the surgeon-general. He 
did all he could to alleviate the sufferings of his 
patient, but it was evident that Mr. Edgeworth's 
health was seriously impaired. Their stay in Dub- 
lin was also saddened by the death of Sir Edward 
Pakenham, who led the British forces at the battle 
of New Orleans, U.S.A. Mr. Edgeworth was much 
attached to this gallant soldier and relative. In the 
spirited lines of Mrs. Hemans to the memory of Sir 
Edward, she says, — 


"Yet hast Minu still (tlioiiq;h victory's flame 
In that last inomont cht'crcd thee not) 
Left Glory's isle another name, 
That ne'er may be forgot." 

Maria about this time, in describing Lady Louisa 
Conolly, daughter of the Duke of Richmond, and 
sister of the second Mrs. Napier, mother of the Na- 
piers of Peninsuhir fame, said Lady Louisa was " all 
that I could have wished to represent in Mrs. Hun- 
gerford ; and her figure and countenance gave me 
back the image in my mind." 

Mr. Edo-eworth was ill most of the time during 
this year, and the anxiety overshadowed Maria's 
happiness more and more. She strove very hard to 
repress her feelings, and wrote more or less all the 
time, at his urgent request. 

Miss Edge worth wrote to Mrs. Barbavdd, after 
reading the attack of " The London Quarterly " on 
the poem of that venerable lady, called " 1811." 

"I cannot describe to you the indignation, or rather 
the disgust, that we felt at the manner in which you are 
treated in ' The Quarterly Review : ' so uugentlemanlike, 
so unjust, so insolent, a review I never read. My father 
and I, in the moment of provocation, snatched up our 
pens to answer it ; but a minute's reflection convinced us 
that silent contempt is the best answer, that we should 
not suppose it possible that it can hurt anybody with the 
generous British public but the reviewers themselves. 
The lines even which they have picked out with most 
malicious intent are excellent, and speak for themselves. 
But it is not their criticism on your poem which incenses 
me : it is the odious tone in which they dare to speak 


of the most respectable and elegant female writer that 
England can boast. The public, the imhlic., will do you 
justice ! " 

In the year 1816 IMr. and j\liss Edgeworth pub- 
lished a small volume called " Readings on Poetry." 
It contains selections from " The Enlicld Speaker," 
with other pieces, and some detached sentences. 
An essay on parody contained a short and clear de- 
scription of the world's great parodies, beginning 
with Homer's " Batracho Myomachia." This book, 
which its editors and authors say in the preface was 
prepared in " the hope of being useful," had a wide 
range of selections; but the original intention of 
making it suitable for the young was carefully fol- 
lowed, and the explanations were clear and easily 
comprehended. The book, however, was not of much 

In 1816 Maria enlarged the plan of the volume of 
plays which she intended as "Popular Plays," to 
take the same place for a certain class of readers 
that the " Popular Tales " did. It was completed in 
1817, and published in that year, in one volume, 
containing " Love and Law," " The Two Guardi- 
ans," and " The Rose, Thistle, and Shamrock." In 
subsequent editions of her works, " The Two Guard- 
ians " was omitted. 

Mrs. Barbauld had not heard from Miss Edge- 
worth for some time, and expressed some doubts as 
to her interest in herself; to which Maria replied as 
follows : — 


]\rv DEAR l\ri{s. Baiibauld, — Youl' kind, warm, friendly 
letter has set my heart at case upon a sul)ject which has 
long been very painful to mc. I feared, and I could not 
bear to think, that I had lost that place in your esteem 
and affection witli which I knew that you once honored 
me, I could not bear the idea that you suspected me 
of being so weak, so vain, so senseless, as to have my 
brain turned by a little fashionable flatter}', and to have 
so changed my character as not to feel the difference 
between your friendship and the commonplace compli- 
ments of Lady Tliis and Tliat and T'other. Your letter 
has dissipated all the very painful fancies and real fears 
that have been growing and preying upon me these two 
years. Thank you, — "on the knees of my heart ' ' I thank 
you. And be assured that your condescension and good- 
ness in begging my pardon, when I ought to have begged, 
and did a hundred times in my secret soul beg, yours, is 
not thrown away upon me. 

So we will now go on where we left off, too long ago. 
I will write whenever I have any thing to say that I wish 
to say to you, whether it be worth your hearing or not ; 
and if you do not answer me, I will only regret : I prom- 
ise you I will never be angry, nor will I ever more fret 
mj'self with the notion that you are angry with me. God 
bless Mrs. Baillie for breaking the ice between us ! 

Y'ou have no idea how long, how terribly long, it is 
before books of any substantial merit reach this remote, 
ultimate Edge worthstown. Such trash as "Glenarvon," 
and such mischief as "Bertram," come too fast, poison- 
ing all the wind. "We have book societies in the country, 
and do order books of merit and reputation ; but it is a 
tedious time before the Dublin booksellers get them, as 
they dare not write for them on their own account. I 
shall immediately bespeak Dr. Aikin's " Annals " for our 


society. We shall anxiously expect Miss Aikin's " Reign 
of Elizabeth." Have you seen a book of Dr. Millar's on 
the " Philosophy of History" ? The introductory chap- 
ter is well done, but I fear there is a vice de construction 
in the plan of the book. The witty, bitterly witty, 
Plunket told him, that, with such a plan, he should not 
have published the book till the day of judgment. His 
plan, you know, is to show that all history forms a moral 
drama. Now, till the drama is finished, how can he 
come to the moral? and without omniscience, how can he 
see the connection of the parts and the whole ? 

I have lately seen a poem which reminded me of the 
spirit of your "1811." I do not mean to say m the 
versification, for that is uuharmonious and often defec- 
tive ; but I admire in it the noble spirit of patriotism 
and virtue, his classical taste, and anti-Byron principles. 
The poem I mean is "Greece," by Mr. Haygarth. I 
know nothing of him ; but I think if he cultivates his 
interests, he may either become a fine historian or a fine 
tragedian. This praise implies a great range of mind: 
but I do not say he is — I say he may become — all this ; 
and I should very much wish to know whether you think 
the same. 

On the contrary, I do not think that the author of 
" Bertram," ^ though he has written a successful tragedy, 
will ever write a good tragedy, — feeling run mad ! 

As to "Glenarvou," it surely can do no mischief: it 
is such nonsense. I stuck fast in the blood and love 
in the second volume, and in that condition fell fast 
asleep, and never would have opened my eyes on the 
third volume, but that my father begged me to read the 
death of the Princess of Madagascar, which seems, with 
all that relates to the princess, to be written by a pen 
1 The Rev. E. C. Maturin. 


much superior to Lady Caroline Lamb's. Who wrote it? 
Is it known? 

"We have just got a little book called "Display," a 
tale for young people, which we like much. It is written 
by the daughter of a physician, a Miss Jane Taylor, who 
keeps a school near Dublin. I am not acquainted with 
her. The good people in this book are more to my taste 
than those in " Coelebs," because they are not so meddling. 
I only wish they had not objected to young people going 
to balls. Before I could finish my sentence, in praise of 
all the good sense and excellent writing of this tale, a 
circle of young and old ladies were open-mouthed with the 
question, — But why object to balls ? I hope you like 
" The Antiquary." And I hope you have no doubt of its 
having l)een written l)y Walter Scott. 

We have just received two numbers of a new " Journal 
of the Arts and Sciences," edited at the Royal Institu- 
tion of Great Britain. Like it much. Glad to see Sir 
Ilumphi-y Davy's lamp lighting him back to the paths 
of science, from the bootless excursion he took into the 
land of fashion. Better be the first than the last of a 
class. Better be the first man of science than the last 
man of fashion, — especially, as he can be the one, and 
cannot be the other. 

In the first number of this journal, there is a paper, 
by Dr. Park, on the laws of sensation, which my father 
admires very much. 

I think the nerves will give physicians and philosophers 
enough to do for the next century. The humorers have 
had their day. 

Here is a gentleman in our neighborhood, who one 
year imagines himself to be without bones, and another 
year without muscles, and one j^ear is a Harry-long-legs, 
and another a man ; and all the time eats and drinks 


heartily, and wears a coat like other men, and is not con- 
sidered as more than nervous. 

I will now finish, lest you should repent having let loose 
my pen upon you. My father has been better lately, but 
his health is far from strong. I say as little as I can 
upon this subject : it is too near my heart. Mrs. Edge- 
worth is in as blooming, happy, and useful health as when 
you knew her at Clifton. 

I wish, my dear INIrs. Barbauld, I could transport you 
into this large, cheerful family, where everybody — from 
little Pakenham at four years old, to the old housekeeper, 
"eldest of forms" — would do every thing in their 
power to make you feel quite at home. You should never 
see any washing-day-' but one. 

Your friend, Lord Longford, has just written us word 
that he is going to be married ; and from his own, and the 
impartial account of his dear sister (commonly called the 
Duchess of Wellington) , the lady he has chosen will not 
only permanently please himself, but satisfy the anxious 
wishes of his host of family friends. She is Lady Geor- 
gina Lj'gon, tenth daughter of Lord Beauchamp. lie 
says she will not permit him to be an ' ' absentee : " so we 
shall now have him again settled at Pakenham Hall, 
within ten miles of us. Now, my dear Mrs. Barbauld, 
could not you summon up resolution enough to be sea- 
sick for six hours, say ten at the utmost, to make us 
happy, and I hope j'ourself, for as many months? I 
have two brothers now at Cheltenham, Lovell and Sne3'd, 
both known to you, both coming over to L-eland, Mrs. 
Sneyd Edgeworth also: could you not come with them? 
Anna (Mrs. Beddoes) also coming in the spring. 

Tliink of ivhat has been said! and do not tremble at 
the thoughts of my pestering j^ou often with such long 

1 A playful poem of Mrs. Barbauld's. 


letters, for I assure you it is uot my habit ; but, in the 
warmth of heart kindled by your warm, affectionate let- 
ter, all this poured out. 

Your affectionate, obliged, and grateful friend, 

Maria Edgewgrth. 

In 1816 Maria received a letter from an American 
Jewess, a Miss Rachel Mordecai of Virginia, gently 
reproaching her with having made Jews ridiculous 
and odious in her novels and tales, and begging her 
to give the world a picture of a good Jew. This 
was the origin of the story of " Harrington," and 
the beginning of an interesting correspondence with 
Miss ]\Iordecai and her family, which lasted many 

In August, 1816, Miss Edgeworth, in touching on 
the subject of Lord Byron's conduct, says, — 

"Everybody is writing and talking about Lord Byron, 
but I am tired of the subject. The ' all for murder, aU 
for crime ' system of poetry will now go out of fashion : 
as long he appeared an outrageous villain he might have 
ridden triumphantly on the storm ; but he has now shown 
himself too base, too mean, too contemptible, for any 
thing like a heroic devil." 

In September, though the house was full of com- 
pany, ^laria " was in her own little den," writing 
hard. The house was full, when a letter from " the 
great R. Ward," was brought her. He, meantime, 
was waiting in the carriage to hear if he would be 
admitted. She hoped it was " the Mr. Ward (Lord 
Ward and Dudley) who made the speech, and wrote 
the review of ' Patronage ' in ' The Quarterly,' and 


of whom Mme. de Stael said he was the only man in 
England who really understood the art of conversa- 
tion." He proved to be "a very gentlemanlike, 
agreeable man, full of anecdotes, Ion mots, and com- 
pliments ; " but not Lord Dudley. He " was under- 
secretary of state during a great part of Pitt's 
administration, and has been one of the lords of 
the admiralty, and is now clerk of the ordnance, 
and has been sent to Ireland to reform abuses in the 
ordnance. He told me that he had heard in Lon- 
don that I had a sort of memoria technica, by which 
I could remember every thing that was said in con- 
versation, and by certain motions of my fingers, 
could, while people were talking to me, note down 
all the ridiculous points. He happened to have 
passed some time in his early life at Lichfield, and 
knew Miss Seward and Dr. Darwin, and many other 
people my father and aunts knew. He repeated, 
among other good things, the following lines by Dr. 
Mansel, the Bishop of Bristol, on Miss Seward and 
Mr. Hayley's flattering each other : — 

" ' Prince of poets, England's glory, Mr. Ilayley, that is you ! ' 
' Ma'am, you carry all before you, Lichfield's own, indeed you 

'In epic, elegy, or sonnet, Mr. Hayley, you're divine ! ' 
'Madam, take my word upon it, you yourself are all the 


Maria kept bus}^ all this summer at " Harrington " 
and "Ormond;" and in February of 1817, as she 
drove with her father to visit Lord Longford's bride 
at Pakenham Hall, she read to him in the carriage 
the first chapter of " Ormond." It was the last visit 

« OKMOND." 307 

Mv. Edgeworth paid anywhere. He had expressed 
a wish to Maria that she sliould write a story as 
a companion to " Harrington ; " and with all the 
anguish of heart which oppressed her natural spirits, 
at the sight of seeing her father suffering such pain, 
and daily growing weaker, she made a strong effort 
to amuse him. By a wonderful exertion of love and 
genius, she produced the gay and spirited pages of 
"Ormond;" among which may be found some of 
her most vivacious scenes, her inimitable characters. 
"Wit, humor, and pathos made the story a bright 
entertainment for the sufferer ; who could not have 
realized in a line of its pages the aching heart which 
dictated it. The book was read chapter by chapter 
in her father's room. 

In the introduction to " Harold the Dauntless," 
published in 1817, Scott, in his address to "Ennui," 
pays ^liss Edgeworth the following pretty compli- 
ment: — 

" Then of the books to call thy drowsy glance 

Compiled, what bard the catalogue may quote ! 
Plays, poems, novels, never read but once : 

But not of such the tale fair Edgeworth wrote ; 
That bears thy name, and is thine antidote." 

The author of that amusing society novel of that 
time, " Cecil the Coxcomb," says in quite a digres- 
sion on " Ennui," — 

' ' The powerful novel of Miss Edgeworth gave a sort 
of unnatural emphasis to the word in the mouths of my 


In another place the same novelist calls Maria 
" the wise daughter of a learned father." 

Maria says of her father's share in the comi^osition 
of " Ormond," — 

"The following parts of ' Ormond' were, as well as I 
can recollect, written for me by my dear father in his 
last illness : the death of King Corny (I am not sm-e of 
the pages, and do not like to look for them) ; but I know 
it is from the time of the return from shooting to the end 
of that cliapter where Ormond ' loses the best friend he 
had in the world.' 

"The whole of Moriarty's history of his escape from 
prison was dictated, without the alteration or hesitation of 
a word, to Honora and to me. 

"Also the meeting between Moriarty and his wife, 
when he jumps out of the carriage the moment he hears 
her voice. My father corrected the whole by having it 
read to him many, many times ; often working at it in his 
bed for hours together, — once, at the end, for six hours 
together, — between the intervals of sickness and exquisite 
pain. . . . 

"The history Mr. Edgeworth heard from the actual 
hero of it, Michael Dunne, whom he chanced to meet in 
the town of Navan, where he was living respectably. 
He kept a shop where Mr. Edgeworth went to purchase 
some boards ; and, observing something very remarkable 
in the man's countenance, he questioned him as they were 
looking at the timber in his yard, and he very readily told 
his tale, almost in the very words used by Moriarty." 



Letter to Mrs. Inchlmld, with " Comic Dramas." — Continued Illness 
of Mr. Edgeworth. — Ilis Death. — Maria's Distress. — No Work 
done for Many IMonths. — INIaria rouses herself to work on her 
Father's ":Memoir." — A Visit to Bowood. — Lord and Lady 
Lansdowne. — Duraout. — Moore's Diary. — Other Visits. — The 
Grove. —Ham pstead.— The Misses Baillie. — Again at Bowood. 
— Byrkeley Lodge. —Trentham. — Smethwick. — Lady Elizabeth 
"Whitbread's House.- Kensington Gore. — London Friends.— 
Duchess of Wellington. — Deep Dene. — Home. — "Memoir." 

[With "Comic Dramas."] 

Edgewortiistown, May 17, 1S17. 

My dear Mrs. Ixciibald, — I am really anxious to 
hear your opiniou of my little "Comic Dramas ; " because 
3'ou are one of the very few persons in the world who can 
form a decided opinion, and who v:ill have the courage 
to tell the truth to an author. 

Let me request then, my dear madam, that, as soon as 
you have read these dramatic attempts, you will write to 
me : one of your truly original and entertaining letters 
will gratify us, independently of all selfish considera- 

My father's health continues to be very precarious. 
His pleasures all now depend on his taste for literature 
and on the affection of his friends. 

He is fortunate in having excellent correspondents 
among the wisest and best people now living. 

You will not consider it as an idle or a propitiatory com- 
pliment, if I assure you that he is now more anxious for 


a letter from Mrs. Inehbald than from auy person in 

Your obliged and affectionate, 

Maria Edgewortii. 

Mt dear Mrs. Inchbald, — Though I can only say 
'■'■ditto " to my father, yet I must add with my own hand 
my thanks to you ; lest j^ou should imagine that I am 
vexed or affronted, and unworthy, after all, to hear the 
truth. Believe me, / am worthy and fit to hear it. I 
know the inestimable value to an author of one friend, 
and one good judge, who has the courage to speak the 
truth. I have felt this all my life. My father has always 
told me the truth as far as parental partiality allowed it 
to be possible. He has always seen the truth, and fore- 
told to me what the best judges would think. I have had 
some experience of the flattery bestowed on authors, and 
the reluctance that almost all people feel to hazard them- 
selves by sajnng auy thing but what is immediately 
agreeable : therefore, I know how fully to appreciate 
your courage, integrity, and generous regard for me. 
Sliow me that you believe me to be sincere, and worthy 
of j'our good opinion, b}' writing with the same frankness 
about the tales which you shall soon receive. 

"Would you ever have guessed from my father's letter, 
that it is written — that is dictated — by a man who is 
very ill, who has been suffering daily and nightly under a 
dispiriting bilious sickness these two years, and who has 
lost twelve pounds weight in the last three months ? But 
he has an unconquerable mind, and affection for his friends 
that no personal sufferings can abate. I wish you had 
seen, or rather known, more of him : you are worthy to 
know him thoroughly. 

I am your obliged and grateful, 

Maria Edgeworth. 


]\rr. Edgcworth, in writing to Lady Romilly by dicta- 
tion the 8th of June, only five days before his death, 
showed how strongly his feelings were enlisted for 
Maria. He says, — 

" The little 'Dramas ' ^ which you mention are inferior 
performances, upon which I assure you we set small value. 
They, however, sell well ; which we are glad of on our 
publisher's account. In a few days I hope j'ou will 
receive Maria's new tales. I do acknowledge that I set a 
high value upon them. They have cheered the lingering 
hours of my illness ; and they have — I speak literally — 
given me more pleasure during confinement than could 
be imagined from the nature of my illness." 

The preface to " Harrington " and " Ormond " was 
written but a little while before jMr. Edgeworth's 
death. It was dated May 31. It was the last he 
ever wrote for Maria. In a letter about these tales 
he said, — 

" Maria's tales will soon issue from the press. If they 
fail of succeeding with the public, you will hear of my 
hanging myself." 

To the last, in spite of pain and weakness, his 
mind was clear and active, and his judgment vigor- 

The last critical office Mrs. Inchbald did for 
Miss Edgeworth was to read the volumes contain- 
ing " Harrington " and " Ormond " and " Thoughts 
on Bores." Mrs. InchbaUrs biographer says she was 
" greatly astonished at the amazing fertility of the 

1 Comic Dramas. 


Muse of Erin." The same thought must strike any- 
one who looks on JNIiss Edgeworth's works : they 
are so numerous; and yet the character of her writ- 
ing is well sustained, and her spirit does not flag. 
She owed much to her father's kindly encourage- 
ment and counsel. It is useless now to question 
what might have been Maria's position as a writer if 
she had been left to follow the bent of her genius, 
unaided by her father's advice. " Helen," written 
long after his death, would serve to reveal something 
of the effect which INIr. Edgeworth had on his 
daughter's writing. It shows a lighter hand, a 
greater ease in handling dialogue, and a more 
natural inconsistency in its characters, than she was 
allowed by her father. Helen and Beauclerc, Lady 
Davenant and Lady Cecilia, are very real characters. 
The hand of Miss Edgeworth had not lost its cun- 
ning, but her natural timidity was so great that she 
could not work after her life-long support was re- 
moved. She had accustomed herself to lean upon 
what she considered her father's superior knowledge 
of the world and literary judgment, until she was 
unfitted for independent literary work for a time. 

Mr. Edgeworth died June 13, 1817 ; and the rest 
of this year was a painful blank in Maria's life, which 
had heretofore been almost a dual one. This ex- 
traordinary man, in his seventy-second year, in a 
fragment on education, said, " Providence has blessed 
me with six children by my present wife, in addition 
to twelve that I had before ; " ^ and he then dilates 

1 Ho hail, in all, tweutj'-two cbiklreu boru to him. Several died 
in infancy. 

I'r m' •' 

£iwrJ!Vfd hv -^ urdcn 

K . ](j .. Ih: £- '' .V K WJ> R T H 


on his views on the education of children, and his 
wislics for tlie future of liis grandchildren. He 
wrote once, jocosely, an epitaph on himself, ending, 
" There's an edge to his wit, and there's worth iu 
his heart." 

The long strain removed, by the death of her 
father, ]Maria was completely unnerved ; and for 
months she was very wretched. Her great efforts to 
cheer her dying father, and the excessive ai)plica- 
tion on " Ormond," had quite injured her eyes ; and 
she was obliged to give up reading, letter-writing, and 
all kinds of needlework. She learned at this time to 
knit, and found it an interesting employment as she 
began to take up the daily duties of life. 

Sir Walter Scott was alwa3*s quoting Miss Edge- 
worth, or alluding to some of her characters. In a 
letter of 1817, written to Jeffrey, he compares him- 
self at Abbotsford to "one of Miss Edgeworth's 
heroines: master of all things in miniature, — a little 
hill and a little glen, and a little horse-pond of a 
loch, and — a little river I was going to call it — the 
Tweed ; but I remember the minister was mobbed 
by his parishioners for terming it in his statistical re- 
port an inconsiderable stream." And he then de- 
scribes himself as being in the "mortar-tub," and 
busy building. 

In the last weeks of this sad 5'ear Maria made a 
visit at Black Castle, and went thence to Collon to 
join jNIrs. Edgeworth, who had been with her chil- 
dren at her father's house. The JMisses Sneyd left 
Edgeworthstown for their brother's home, Byrkeley 
Lodge, Staffordshire, in consequence of an agree- 


ment made to tliat effect before the deatli of Mr. 
Edgeworth. They took with them Honora, who now 
returned to Ireland after this visit to England, and 
found Maria and her step-mother at CoUon in Janu- 
ary. Shortly after they all went back to Edgeworths- 
town. Lovell Edgeworth wished his step-mother to 
make it her home, as in his father's lifetime. 

This was a very sad return, for the loss of the 
husband and father was made more evident to them 
in the home they had enjoyed together. Two wet 
seasons had brought a famine, typhus-fever, and 
much suffering and death among their poor tenantry. 
A painful duty lay before Maria, and one she found 
it difficult to perform to her own satisfaction. 

Mr. Edgeworth had enjoined on Maria the task of 
completing his memoir, written by himself up to the 
year 1782. In the introduction to liis early memoir, 
he says, — 

"My beloved daughter Maria, at my earnest request, 
has promised to revise, complete, and publish her father's 

Her sisters copied many letters, and also wrote 
from dictation, to save Maria's eyes, which were still 
far from strong ; and she began to work as much as 
possible at what she considered as a sacred duty. 
She bitterly realized the loss of her father's encour- 
aging words and sympathetic yet impartial advice in 
her very difficult undertaking. 

In the spring of 1818 Lord Carrington offered 
Mrs. Edgeworth an appointment in the East-India 
Civil Service; and this was accepted for her son 


Pakenliam, who left home soon after for India, 
where he lived many years. The illness of Wil- 
liam Edge worth called Mrs. Edge worth to England 
during this season. 

Lady Lansdi)wne wrote ^laria at this time, press- 
ingly inviting her to Bowood, and telling that " M. 
Dumont is expected in May or June, and oh that 
you would meet him at Bowood ! few things in this 
world could give me more pleasure." Maria thought 
favorably of this kind invitation, and accepted it 
later in the year. 

Maria had a correspondent in Philadelphia, wh3 
wi'ote her of the intense interest felt in America 
about the Waverley novels, saying, — 

" ' Waverley,' ' Guy Mannering,' etc., have excited as 
much enthusiasm iu America as iu Europe. Boats are 
now actually on the lookout for ' Rob Roy,' all here are 
so impatient to get the first sight of it." 

As Maria was very anxious to meet ]M. Dumont, 
and have his opinion of her life of her father, she 
accepted the cordial invitation of Lady Lansdowne, 
and went, accompanied by her sister Ilonora, to 
Bowood, where they arrived the Ttli of September, 
1818. On her way there she made visits to her 
sisters, Mrs. Beddoes and Mrs. King. 

Previous to this journey she was at her brother 
Sneyd's in Wicklow County, and in speaking of the 
" Memoir," and her share in it, to Mrs. Stark of 
Glasgow, said, — 

"I am, and have been ever since I could command 
my attention, intent upon finishing these memoirs of 


himself which my feather left me to finish, and charged 
me to publish. I am now within two months' work of 
finishing all I mean to write ; but the work of revision and 
consideration — oh! most anxious consideration." 

M. Dumont was "very much pleased with my 
father's manuscript," Maria wrote: "he has read a 
good deal of mine, and likes it. He hates Mr. Day 
in spite of all his good qualities : he says he knows 
he could not bear that sort of a man, who has such 
pride and misanthropies about trifles, raising a great 
theory of morals upon an amour propre hlessey 

Slie describes the life at Bo wood as delightful, 
sajdng in one letter, — 

" Now I will tell you how we pass our day. At seven 
I get up, — this morning half-past six, to have the pleas- 
ure of writing to you ; breakfast at half after nine, very 
pleasant ; afterwards we all stray into the library for a 
few minutes, and settle when we shall meet again for 
walking, etc. ; then Lady Lansdowne goes to her dear 
dressing-room, and dear children, Dumont to his attic. 
Lord Lansdowne to his out-of-door work, and we to our 
elegant dressing-room, and Miss Carnegy to hers. Be- 
tween one and two, luncheon : happy time ! Lady Lans- 
downe is so cheerful, polite, and easy, just as she was in 
her walks at Edgeworthstown ; but very different walks 
are the walks we take here, most various and delightful : 
■from dressed knots, shrubbery, and park walks, to fields 
with inviting paths, wide downs, shady, winding lanes, 
happy cottages, not dressed, but naturally well placed, 
and with evidence in every part of their being well suited 
to the inhabitants. After wnlk, dress and make haste 
for dinner. Dinner always pleasant, because Lord and 

BOWOOD. 317 

Lady Lansdownc converse so agreoalily — Dumont also 
towards the dessert. After dinner we lind the children 
in the drawing-room. I like them In'ttcr and better the 
more I see of them. When there is company, a whist- 
table for the gentlemen. Dumont read out one evening 
one of Corneille's plays, ' Le Florentin,' beautiful, and 
beautifully read. We asked for one of Moliere ; Init he 
said to Lord Lansdowne that it was impossible to read 
out Moliere without a quicker eye than he had pour de 
certains j)ropos. They went to the library, and brought 
out at last as odd a choice as could well be made, with Mr. 
Thomas Grenville as auditor, — ' Le Vieux Ccin)ataire,' 
an excellent play, interesting and lively throughout, and 
the old bachelor himself a charming character. Dumont 
read it as well as Tessier could have read it ; but there 
■were things which seemed as if they were written on pur- 
pose for the c^libataire who was listening and the c61i- 
bataire who was reading. 

"Lord Lansdowne, when I asked him to describe 
Eocca ^ to me, said he heard him give an answer to Lord 
Byron which marked the indignant frankness of his 
mind. Lord Byron at Coppet had been going on abus- 
ing the stupidity of the good people of Geneva : Eocca 
at last turned short upon him, ' Eh ! Milord, pourquoi 
done venez-vous \o\\^ fonrrer parmi ces hounetes gens? ' 

" Mme. de Stael, — I fumble anecdotes together as I 
recollect them, — Mme. de Stael had a great wish to see 
Mr. Bowles the poet, or, as Lord Byron calls him, ' tlie 
sonneteer.' She admired his sonnets, and his spirit of 
maritime discovery, and ranked him high as an English 
genius. In riding to Bowood he fell, and sprained his 
shoulder, but still came on. Lord Lansdowne alluded 
to this in presenting him to Mme. de Stael before dinner, 
1 Secoud liii.sbauel of Mme. ilc Staiil. 


in the midst of the listening cii'cle. She began to com- 
pliment him and herself upon the exertion he had made 
to come and see her. ' Oh, ma'am ! say no more, for I 
would have done a great deal more to see so great a curi- 
osity ! ' 

" Lord Lansdowne says it is impossible to describe the 
sliock in Mme. de Stael's face, — the breathless astonish- 
ment, and the total change produced in her opinion of the 
man. She said afterwards to Lord Lansdowne, who had 
told her he was a simple country clergyman, ' Je vols bien 
que ce n'est qu'un simple cure qui n'a pas le sens com- 
mun, quoi que grand po6te.' 

" Lady Lansdowne, just as I was writing this, came to 
my room and paid me half an hour's visit. She brought 
back my father's manuscript, which I had lent to her to 
read. She was exceeding interested in it : she says, ' It 
is not only entertaining, but interesting, as showing how 
such a character was formed. When he was settled at 
Hare Hatch, after his first marriage, he seemed as much 
out of fortune's way as possible ; and yet he found occu- 
pations which led to distinction, and he formed that 
friendship for Mr. Day which was so honorable to both.' 
She admires and loves Mr. Day as much as Dumont dis- 
likes him." 

On the occasion of this visit at Bowood, there 
were, by turns, several sets of people, — Mr. Gren- 
ville, Lord and Lady Grenville, Lord and Lady 
Bathurst, and others. In concluding her visit, Maria 
wrote, — 

"This visit to Bowood has surpassed my expectation 
in every respect. I much enjoy the sight of Lady Lans- 
downe's happiness with her husband and her childi'eu, — 


beauty, fortune, cultivated society, in short, every thing 
that the most reasonable or unreasonable could wish. 
She is so amiable, and so desirous to make others happy, 
that it is impossible not to love her ; and the most envi- 
ous of mortals, I think, would have the heart opened to 
sympathy with her. They are so fond of each other, and 
show it, and don't shoio it, in the most agreeable manner. 
His conversation is very varied and natural, full of infor- 
mation given for the sake of those to whom he speaks, 
never for display. What he says lets us into his feelings 
and character always, and therefore interests me." 

Of Lord Lansdowne's conversation, Maria gives 
some examples : — 

" I observed one day at dinner at Bowood, that chil- 
dren have very early a desire to produce an effect, a 
sensation in company. ' Yes,' said Lord Lansdowue, ' I 
remember distinctly having that feeling, and acting upon 
it once in a large and august company, when I was a 
young boy, at the time of the French Revolution, when 
the Duke and Duchcsse de Polignac came to Bowood, and 
my father was anxious to receive these illustrious guests 
with all due honor. One Saturday evening, when they 
were all sitting in state in the drawing-room, my father 
introduced me ; and I was asked to give the company a 
sermon. The text I chose was, quite undesignedly, ' Put 
not your trust in princes.' The moment I had pronounced 
the words, I saw my father's countenance change ; and I 
saw changes in the countenances of the duke and duch- 
ess, and of every face in the circle. I saw I was the 
cause of this ; and, though I knew my father wanted to 
stop me, I would go on, to see what would be the effect. 
I repeated my text, and preached upon it, and as I went 
on made out what it was that affected the congregation.' 


"Afterwards Lord Shelburno desired him to go round 
the circle and wish the company good-night ; but, when 
he came to the Duchesse de Polignac, he could not resolve 
to kiss her: he so detested tlie patch of rouge on her 
cheek, he started back. Lord Shelburne whispered a bribe 
in his ear : no, he would not ; and they were obliged to 
laugh it off. But his father was very much vexed. 

"Another day we were talking of ' Glenarvou ; ' and 
I said we thought the Princess of Madagascar, Lady 
Holland, so good, that we fancied it had been inserted by 
a better hand ; but Lord Lausdowue said it was certainly 
written by Lady Caroline Lamb herself : she was pro- 
voked to it by a note of good advice from Lady Holland. 
I said I thought the book so stupid I could hardly get 
through it ; and Lord Lansdowne said, that but for curi- 
osity to see what would be said of particular people, he 
could not have got to the end of it. ' And, besides the 
natural curiosity about my friends and acquaintances,' he 
added, ' I expected to find myself abused.' " 

In Moore's diary for 1818, he mentioned this visit 
at Bo wood, near which phace he lived, and where 
he was a constant visitor : — 

"Dined at Bowood : the company, two Miss Edge- 
worths and Dumont ; Mr. Grenville, to my regret, was 
gone. I wanted to uncork (to me an old joke) whatever 
remains of Old Sherry he might have in him. Lady 
Lansdowne said he had mentioned the subject of Sheri- 
dan's letters to her, etc. Talked with Dumont before 
dinner ; told me Miss Edgeworth was preparing her 
father's memoirs for the press ; said that the details of a 
life passed usefully in that middling class of society must 
always be interesting. In the evening Miss Edgeworth 
delightful, not from display, but from repose and uuaflect- 

BOWOOD. 321 

edncss, — the least prctendinp; person of the companj'. 
She asked uie if I had seen a poem in ' The Edinliur.uh 
Annual Register,' called ' Solynian ' (I think) : the hero's 
fate depends upon getting a happy man to give him the 
shirt from his back ; his experiments in different countries 
she represented as very livelily described. At last, in 
Ireland, he meets with a happy man, and in his impa- 
tience proceeds to tear the shirt from his back, but finds 
he has none. In the same pleasant talk Miss Edgeworth 
praised the eulogy upon Mme. de StaiJl, in the notes in 
the fourth canto of 'Childe Harold,' as a beautiful specimen 
of Lord Byron's prose-writing. I told her it was Hob- 
house. Lord Lausdowne read it aloud, and they all 
seemed to like it." 

Byron, in the fourth canto, stanza LIV. of "Childe 
Harold," has some fine lines beginning, — 

" In Santa Croce's holy precincts lie 
Ashes which make it holier, dust which is 
Even in itself an immortality." 

The note is a glowing tribute to the memory of 
Mme. de Stael. In it he says, — 

" ' Corinne ' is no more ; and with her should expire 
the fear, the flattery, and the envy which threw too daz- 
zling or too dark a cloud round the march of genius, and 
forbade the steady gaze of disinterested criticism." 

Lord and Lady Lansdowne made charming hosts. 
Some years after this time, Sydney Smith said of 
him, — 

""Why don't they talk on the virtues and excellences 
of Lansdowne? There is no man who performs the 


duties of life better, or fills a high station in a more 
becoming manner. He is full of knowledge, and eager 
for its acquisition. His remarkaljle politeness is the 
result of good-nature, regulated by good sense. He 
looks for talents and qualities among all ranks of men, 
and adds them to his stock of society, as a botanist does 
his plants ; and, while other aristocrats are yawning 
among Stars and Garters, Lansdowne is refreshing his 
soul with the fancy and genius which he has found in odd 
places, and gathered to the marbles and pictures of his 
palace. Then he is an honest politician, a wise states- 
man, and has a philosophic mind : he is very agreeable 
in conversation, and is a man of unblemished life." 

In Mr. Harness's remarks on the society, when he 
came upon the stage, — "a society which, taken for 
all in all, has never been surpassed," — he mentions, 
among its members. Lord Lansdowne, as " unwear- 
ied in his kindness and liberality to men of genius." 
Brougham said of him, that " there never was a more 
amiable and virtuous man in any party or any politi- 
cal station than Lord Lansdowne." 

Lady Lansdowne was the fitting wife of such a 
man. Lord John Russell, in his preface to Moore's 
" Diaries," says, — 

' ' I cannot properly expatiate upon the character of 
one whose virtues loved to retire even from the praise 
of loving retirement ; who sought in works of charity and 
benevolence among her poorer neighbors a compensation 
for the worldly advantage which excited the envy of oth- 
ers : but, among the good influences which surroundec 
Moore, and led him to revere a woman ' unspotted from 
the world,' I could not omit to allude to his intercourse 

BOWOOD. 323 

with her who diffuscMl an air of lioliness and peace and 
purity over the ht)use of liowood, whicli neitlicr rieli nor 
poor can ever forget." 

Moore himself said of her, — 

"Had a long conversation with her, and came away 
(as I alwaj's do) more and more impressed with the 
excellent qualities of her mind and heart : even her faults 
are but the sehxige of line and sound virtues." 

The place of Bowood anciently constituted part 
of the royal forest of Pevisham, which extended 
from Chippenham to Devizes : the Avon bounds it 
on two sides. It was bought by John, Earl of Shel- 
burne. The present mansion was then standing, but 
was improved and added to in 1763. The grounds 
were laid out by the Earl of Shelburne, Lord Lans- 
downe's father, under the advice of " Capability 
Brown," and Mr. Hamilton of Pain's Hill. While 
in retirement, and his enemies were blackening his 
character. Lord Shelburne was buying his splendid 
collection of MSS., entertaining his friends, and 
making a lake at Bowood. 

From the hospitable and elegant seat of Lord 
Lansdowne, Miss Edgeworth and her sister went to 
the Grove, Epping, the residence of Capt. Wilson, 
who was father-in-law to Capt. Francis Beaufort. 
While at Epping, Maria made a kind of pious pil- 
grimage to the house her friend Mr. Day had lived 
in : she found only a wall left of it, but that the 
memory of the eccentric man was cherished by his 
poor neighbors, to whom he had shown much kind- 
ness in his peculiar way. 


From Epping the sisters went over Hampstead 
Heath to the village, where they were expected by 
Joanna and Agnes Baillie ; who, " most kind, cordial, 
and warm-hearted, came running down their little 
flasrsred walk to welcome us. Mrs. Hunter, widow 
of John Hunter, dined here yesterday. She wrote 
'The Son of Alnomac shall never complain,' and 
she entertained me exceedingly; and both Joanna 
and her sister have such agreeable and new conver- 
sation, — not old, trumpery literature over again, 
and reviews, but new circumstances, with telling 
apropos to every subject that is touched upon ; frank 
observations on character, without either ill-nature 
or the fear of committing themselves : no blue-stock- 
ing tittle-tattle, or habits of worshipping or being 
worshipped ; domestic, affectionate, good to live with, 
and, without fussing continually, doing what is most 
obliging, and whatever makes us feel most at home. 
Breakfast is very pleasant in this house, the two 
good sisters look so neat and cheerful." While on 
this visit they went to see IMrs. Barbauld, at her 
home in Stoke Newington. This was a painful visit, 
for it brought up old memories. 

' ' We waited some time before she appeared ; and I had 
the leisure to recollect every thing that could make me 
melancholy, — the very sofa that you recollect, where you 
and my father sat. I was quite undone before she came 
in, but was forced to get tln-ough it. She was gratified 
by our visit, and very kind and agreeable." 

After this pleasant stay at the Misses Baillie, they 
went to Lady Spencer's at Wimbledon. Among the 

BO WOOD. 325 

distinguished guests there during their visit were 
Lady Jones, widow of Sir William Jones, the great 
Orientalist, " a thin, dried old lady, nut-cracker chin, 
penetrating, benevolent, often-smiling black eyes , 
and her nephew, young Mr. Hare, author of ' Guesses 
on Truth,' and Mr. Brunei." i 

After tills round of visits, the sisters returned to 
Bowood in November. While there they were 
shocked by the news of Romilly's death. There 
was a delightful company assembled again, Mr. and 
Mrs. Dugald Stewart being among the number. 
Moore, in speaking of a day at Bowood, says he had 
a talk -with Lady Lansdowne, " who had read Edge- 
worth's ' ^Memoirs,' in manuscript ; was much inter- 
ested by them, particularly by his account of ]Mr. 
Day, the person of whom there is so much in Miss 
Seward's 'Memoir of Darwin.'" He was again at 
Bowood in November. 

"Walked to Bowood a little after five. Company to 
dinner, — Dugald Stewart, his wife and daughters, the 
Misses Edgeworths and Bowleses. Very pleasant day. 
Sat between Ladj' Lansdowne and Miss Edgeworth at 
dinner : both in different ways very delightful. Talked 
with Miss Edgeworth of the Dublin Mrs. Lefanu,^ whom 
she seemed to have a higher notion of altogether than I 
had. I asked her whether the play Mrs. Lefanu had 
written was not pretty good. 'Oh, no! pretty bad,' she 
answered. She had, however, derived her opinion of 

1 Sir Mark Isainl)ard Brunei, born in France, 1769; died in Eng- 
land, 18i9; distinguished engineer, — Thames Tunnel, Woolwich 
Arsenal, Chatham dock-yard, among his many undertakings. 

2 Wife of Eev. Joseph Lefanu; sister of Sheridan. 


Mrs. Lefanu's talents from a common friend of theirs, 
who loved her very much. 

" This friend told her that Mrs. Lefanu had seen a 
letter to Sheridan from one of the persons high in the 
American government, during the latter end of the war, 
expressing great admiration of his talents and political 
opinions, and telling him that twenty thousand pounds 
were deposited with a certain banker, ready for him to 
draw, as a mark of their value for his services in the 
cause of liberty. She had also seen Sheridan's answer, 
in which, with many gratified acknowledgments of their 
high opinion, he begged leave to decline a gift commu- 
nicated under such circumstances. Hope this is true. 
Said she would get the particulars. Reminded me of 
the night she saw me as ' Mungo ' at a masquerade at 
Lady Besborough's. Told her this was the last folly I 
had been guilty of in the masquerading way. Brought 
to my mind a pun I had made in her hearing that night. 
Lady Clare said, ' I am always found out at masquer- 
ade.' — ' That shows,' answered I, ' you are not the clair 
obscure.^ Did very well from Mungo. 

" Same night I sang in the evening. Stewart, I was 
happy to see, much delighted. When I met him at Lord 
Moira's, I watched him while I sang, and saw him, when 
I had finished, give a sort of decisive blow to the sofa 
which he was reclining against. This gesticulation puz- 
zled me, and I could not tell whether it was approbation 
or condemnation ; but I am satisfied now. I never saw 
any man that seemed to feel my singing more deeply : 
the tears frequently stood in his eyes. Miss Edgeworth, 
too, was much affected. This is a delightful triumph to 
touch these higher spirits ! " 

VISITS. 327 

After delightful days spent at Bo\yood, they left 
it for Byrkeley Lodge, and there enjoyed a stay with 
the Sne3'ds ; being "happy in the quiet of Byrkeley 
Lodge," after this succession of visits. 

In January they went to Trentham, the seat of 
Lord Stafford ; Fanny joining them at Lichfield. 
They returned to Byrkeley Lodge after this, and 
again started from there in jNTarch to visit the Moil- 
liets, at Smethwick, near Birmingliam. Mrs. Moil- 
liet was a daughter of Mr. Edgeworth's old friend 
Mr. Keir. 

"Mr. MoiUiet told us an anecdote of Mmc. la Com- 
tesse de Rumford and her charming count : he, one day 
in a fit of ill-humor, went to the porter, and forbade him 
to let into his house any of the friends of Mme. la Com- 
tesse or of M. Lavoisier's, — all the society which you 
and I saw at her house : they had been invited to supper. 
The old porter, all disconsolate, went to tell the couutess 
the order he had received. ' Well, you must obey your 
master : you must not let them into the house ; but I will 
go down to your lodge, and, as each carriage comes, j'ou 
will let them know what has happened, and that I am 
there to receive them.' They all came, and, by two and 
three at a time, went into the porter's lodge and spent 
the evening with her ; their carriages lining the street all 
night, to the count's iufluite mortification." 

Maria, while at Mrs. Moilliet's, visited " dear, old 
Mr. Watt, — eighty-four, and in perfect possession of 
eyes, ears, and all his comprehensive understanding, 
and warm heart. . . . Watt is at this moment the 
best encyclopedia extant." 


The sisters went next to the home of Lady 
Elizabeth Whitbread, Grove House, at Kensington 
Gore. Maria found Lady Elizabeth most devoted 
in her attentions. 

" Her house, her servantiS, her carriage, her horses, 
are not only entirely at my disposal, but she had the good- 
natured pohteness to go down to the door to desire the 
coachman to have George Bristoio always with liim on the 
box, as the shaking would be too much for him behind 
the carriage." 

This old man was the servant IMr. Day had at 
Epping, who ploughed a sandy field under his orders 
sixteen times to enrich it ; Mr. Day having decided 
that was the way to cultivate poor soil. After he left 
Mr. Day, he went over to ]\Ir. Edgeworth in Ireland. 

While Maria was at Lady Whitbread's, she was 
engaged in making the business arrangements for 
publishing her father's memoir. Mr. Johnson was 
succeeded by his nephews, Messrs. Miles and Hun- 
ter : Mr. Miles soon withdrew from the firm. They 
were very polite and honorable in all business mat- 
ters ; but the whole affair was trying to Miss Edge- 
worth, who had always been spared any business 
details by her father, who arranged all the matters 
relating to publication for her. 

During this visit at Lady Whitbread's, she met 
many of the friends made in her London visit of 
' 1813. She had a breakfast at Miss Catherine Fan- 
shawe's, and at Mrs. IVLarcet's. At the latter house 
she met INlr. Mill, the historian, and father of John 
Stuart Mill. She said of Mr. Mill, " He was the chief 


figurante ; not the least of a figurante though, excel- 
lent in sense and benevolence." 

They were entertained by the Wilberforces, Hopes, 
and Lady Lansdowne ; and on St. Patrick's Day 
tliey went, "by apxDoiutment, to the Duchess of 

" Nothing could be more like Kitty Pakenhcam : a plate 
of shamrocks on the table ; and, as she came forward to 
meet me, she gave a bunch to me, pressing my band, and 
saying in a low voice with her sweet smile, ' Vous en etes 
digne.' She asked individually for all her Irish friends. 
I showed her what was said in my father's life, and by 
me, of Lord Longford, and the drawing of his likeness, 
and asked if his family would be pleased. She spoke 
very kindly : ' Would do her father's memory honor ; could 
not but please every Pakenham.' 

" She was obliging in directing her conversation to my 
sisters as well as myself. She said she had purposely 
avoided Mme. de Stael in England, not knowing how she 
might be received by the Bourbons, to whom the duchess 
was to be ambassadress. She found Mme. de Stael was 
well received at the Bourbon Court, and consequently she 
must be received at the Duke of Wellington's. She ar- 
rived, and w^alking up in full assembly to the duchess, 
with the fire of indignation flashing in her eyes : ' Eh ! 
Mme. la Duchesse, vous ne me voulez pas done faire ma 
connaissance en Angleterre ? ' 

" ' Non, madame, je ne le voulais pas.' 
" ' Eh ! comment, madame? Pourquoi done ? ' 
" ' C'est que je vous craignerais, madame.' 
" 'Vous me craignez, Mme. la Duchesse?' 
" ' Non, madame, je ne vous crains plus.' 
"Mme. de Stael threw her arms round her: 'Ah, je 
vous adore ! ' " 


At tlie Hopes, Maria met the " Iron Duke " him- 
self, but curiously enough did not recognize him. 
After he left she was told who he was. 

"He was announced in such an unintelligible manner, 
that I did not know what duke it was ; nor did I know, 
till we got iuto the carriage, who it was, — he looks so old 
and wrinkled. I never should have known him from 
likeness to bust or picture. His manner was very agreea- 
ble, perfectly simple and dignified. He said only a few 
words, but listened to some literary conversation that 
was going on, as if he was amused, laughing once very 

He was taken by her " for some old family — 
Uncle Duke." Mme. de Stael said of him, ambig- 
uously, that " there never was so great a man made 
out of such small material." 

Ten delightful days were spent by the INIisses 
Edgeworth at the Hopes' country-seat of Deepdene. 

"The valley of Dorking is so beautiful that Easselas 
would not have desired to escape from that happy valley." 

At this time they visited Norbury Park, the home 
of Mme. d'Arblay's friends Mr. and Mrs. Locke, and 
also saw Evelyn's country-seat, " Wootton," so well 
known to the readers of his Diary. 

After this country visit they again made a stay at 
Lady Elizabeth Whitbread's, and also visited the 
Carrs at Hampstead. There was a good story 
told Maria "of Lady Breadlebane's having been 
left in her carriage fast asleep, and rolled into tlie 
coach-house of a hotel in Florence, and nobody 

noJiE. 331 

missing her for some time ; and how they went to 
look for licr, and ever so many carriages had been 
rolled in after hers, and how she awakened," — all of 
which amused her very much. 

Maria and her sisters, after another little visit to 
the Snc3'ds', crossed over to Ireland ; arriving at 
Edgeworthstown early in the summer of 1819. 
After her return home Miss Edgeworth continued 
to revise and re-write the memoir of her father, and 
in tliis work she was constantly assisted by her sis- 
ters. Fanny Edgeworth copied it for her; and by 
September she was able to tell a correspondent that 
she had two hundred and fifty pages of it in perfect 
order, and was not certain whether Hunter and they 
would manage to have it ready for Christmas or the 
next spring. 

The " Popular Tales " were widely read on the 
Continent ; and translated by Mme. de Roissey and 
another person, whose name jNliss Edgeworth did not 
know, into the French, they had a wide circle of 
readers. An Italian lady, Mme. Bianca ]Milesi-Mo- 
jon, translated Mrs. Barbauld's " Hj'mns," and some 
of Miss Edgeworth's " Tales," into the Italian. jNIr. 
George Ticknor names this lady, whom he met in 
Paris in 1837. A sketch of her life was published 
by Emile Souvestre in 1854. 

In July Miss Edgeworth received the following 
friendly letter from one whom she greatly admired and 
loved, — Sir Walter Scott. 

Abbotsford, July 21, 1819. 

My dear Miss Edgeworth, — AVlien this shall happen 
to reach your hands, it will be accompanied by a second 


edition of Walter Scott ; a tall copy, as collectors say, and 
bound in Turkey leather, garnished with all sorts of fur 
and fripper}^, not quite so well lettered^ however, as the old 
and vamped original edition. In other and more intelli- 
gible phrase, the tall cornet of Hussars, whom this will 
introduce to you, is my eldest son, who is now just leaving 
me to join his regiment in Ireland. I have charged him, 
and he is himself sufficiently anxious, to avoid no oppor- 
tunity of making your acquaintance ; as to be known to 
the good and the wise is by far the best privilege he can 
derive from my connection with literature. I have always 
felt the value of having access to persons of talent and 
genius to be the best part of a literary man's prerogative ; 
and you will not wonder, I am sure, that I should be desir- 
ous this youngster should have a share of the same benefit. 

I have had dreadful bad health for many months past, 
anil have endured more pain than I thought was consistent 
with life. But the thread, though frail in some respects, 
is tough in others ; and here am I with renewed health, 
and a fair prospect of regaining my strength, much ex- 
hausted by such a train of suffering. 

I do not know when this will reach j'ou, my son's mo- 
tions being uncertain. But find you wdiere or when it will, 
it comes, dear Miss Edgeworth, from the sincere admirer 
of your genius, and of the patriotic and excellent manner 
in which it has always been exerted. In which character 
I subscribe myself, 

Ever yours truly, 

Walter Scott. 



A Visit from the Carrs. — Maria reads New Books. — Memoir com- 
pleted. — A Continental Journey. — England. — Oxford. — Paris. 

— Old Friends re-Aisited. — Mme. Recamier. — Mrae. de Pasto- 
ret. — Cuvier. — Prouy. — Other Celebrities. — French Society. — 
Many Changes. — Politics. — Mme. de Rnmford. — Geneva. — Du- 
mont. — The Moilliets. — A Visit at Pregny. — Coppet. — Cha- 
monni. — A Town on the Borders of Lake Geneva. — Visit to 
Mme. de Montolien. — Again at Coppet. — M. de Stael. — Memo- 
ries of Mme. de Staiil. — Maria writes " Rosamond " at Pregny. 

— M. Pictet deRochemont. — Reviews of the "Memoir." — Pain- 
ful Experience for Maria. — Paris. — Much Visiting. — A Call 
ujiou Mme. de Rochejacjuelin. 

In September the family had a visit from their 
friends the Carrs. jNIaria was very fond of them. 
Miss Carr was an intimate friend of Lady Byron, 
and all the Pakenhams were very much attached to 
her; "though she had the misfortune to refuse Sir 
Edward " (Pakenham), Maria wrote, when mention- 
ing this lady. 

The long and complete rest which Miss Edgeworth 
gave her eyes was attended with excellent results. 
She found she had " eyes to read again ; " and the 
pleasure was very great, in proportion to the depri- 
vation she had suffered in abstaining from all writing, 
even corresponding with her friends, which all her 
life was a source of great interest to her. When she 
first began to use them, she said, — 


"I have a voracious appetite, and a relish for food, 
— good, bad, and indifferent, I am afraid, — like a half- 
famished, shipwrecked wretch." 

Miss Edgewortli read "The Life of Mme. de Stael," 
which was written soon after her death by her cousin, 
Mme. Necker de Saussure, " of whom Mme. de Stael 
said, when some one asked, 'What sort of a woman is 
she ? ' — ' Elle a tons les talents qu'on me suj)pose, et 
tons les virtues qui me manquent.' " Miss Edgeworth 
thought this a "touching and beautiful " description. 

Miss Berry's work, as editor of Lady Russell's 
"Life and Letters," which appeared at this time, 
pleased Maria very much ; and she thought it well 

Early in the spring of 1820, when Maria had fin- 
ished her father's " Memoir," and the continuation of 
it, and made all necessary arrangements for its pub- 
lication, she decided to take a Continental journey, 
with hev sisters Fanny and Harriet, re-visiting Paris, 
and perhaps going farther south. She visited Black 
Castle on her way to Dublin, and left Ireland earl}^ in 
April. On this journey Miss Edgeworth first trav- 
elled in a steamboat ; the new line having been started 
just before this time to ply between Dublin and 
Holyhead. Her description of the '■'■ jigging^' motion, 
which she disliked very much, she said "was like 
the shake felt in a carriage when a pig is scratching 
himself against the hind-wheel, while waiting at an 
Irish inn-door." Certainly onl}^ a constant traveller 
in Ireland could have more aptly described the motion 
of a small steamboat. 


On their way through Enghmd, they visited the 
Watts. Old Mr. Watt had recently died. Some one 
told her the following epitaph, which she considered 
worth copying : — 

" As So lived, so did So die. 
So, so ! Did he so? So let him die." 

This was caused by the premium offered by a citi- 
zen of London, of the name of *S'a, who desu-ed an 
epitaph on his odd name. 

The party stopped at Oxford, and saw the colleges 
and town. There some one told Maria an anecdote 
of the visit of the prince regent, and the emperor of 
Russia. When the royal persons entered the theatre 
at Oxford, it was " filled in every part ; but such was 
the hush you could have heard a pin drop, till the 
prince put his foot upon the threshold, when the 
whole assembly rose with a tremendous shout of 
applause. The prince was supremely gratified, and 
said to the emperor of Russia, ' You heard the Lon- 
don mob hoot me, but you see how I am received by 
the young gentlemen of England.' " 

The party arrived at Paris the last week in April, 
and found many old friends delighted to welcome 
them. Maria found Mme. de Pastoret just the same 
in her cordial greeting, and "little changed" by the 
years that had passed since they last met. She met 
Humboldt, dined at Cuvier's, and went often to the 
Delesserts. They also renewed their acquaintance 
with Mme. Recamier. They went to her "at her 
convent, L'Abbaye aux Bois, up seventy-eight steps, 
— all came in with the asthma ; elegant room, and 


she as elegant as ever," thongli "no longer rich 
and prosperous." — "She is still beautiful," she wrote 
later, "still dresses herself and her little room 
with elegant simplicity, and lives in a convent only 
because it is cheap and respectable. M. Recamier 
is still living: they have not been separated by 
any thing but misfortune." This sounds curiously 
enough to English-speaking people, who think " mis- 
fortune " should unite a husband and wife more 
closely; but there was no love between Mme. Reca- 
mier and her husband. 

At the house of Cuvier, Maria met many old friends, 
and made many new ones among the scientific men 
of France. Among the good friends who recalled 
the days of their earlier visit, she met M. Prony ; " as 
like an honest water-dog as ever." She describes 
Cuvier and Prony in a graphic manner, and the good 
talk they had. 

"Cuvier and Prony talking, — Prony, with his hair 
nearly in my plate, was telling me most entertaining 
anecdotes of Bonaparte ; and Cuvier, with his head nearly 
meeting him, talking as hard as he could, not striving to 
show learumg or wit, quite the contrary, — frank, open- 
hearted genius, delighted to be together at home. 

"Both Cuvier and Prony agreed that Bonaparte never 
could bear to have any answer hut a decided one. ' One 
day,' said Cuvier, ' I nearly ruined myself by consider- 
ing before I answered. He asked me, " Faut-il introduire 
le Sucre de betterave en France?" — " D'abord, sn-e, il 
f aut songer si vos colonies " — " Faut-il avoir le sucre 
de betterave en France?" — "Mais, sire, il faut exam- 
iner " — " Bah ! je le demauderai a Berthollet. " ' 

TARTS. 337 

" Tliis (loi=:potio, Inoonie niodo of insisting on Icai'ning 
every thing in two words luul its inconvenience. One day 
he asked tlie master of the woods at Fontainebleau, ' How 
many acres of wood here?' The master, an honest man, 
stojiped to recollect. ' Bah ! ' and the under-master came 
forward, and said any number that came into his head. 
Bonaparte immediately took the mastership from the first, 
and gave it to the second. ' Qu'arrivait-il? ' continued 
Prony. ' The rogue who gave the guess-answer was soon 
found out cutting down and selling quantities of trees ; 
and Bonaparte had to take the raugership from him, and 
re-instate the honest hesitater.' 

"Prony is, you kuow, one of the most absent men 
alive. ' Once,' he told me, ' I was in a carriage with 
Bonaparte and Gen. Caffarelli : it was at the time he was 
going to Egypt. He asked me to go. I said I could 
not ; that is, I would not. And, when I had said these 
words, I fell into a reverie, collecting in my own head all 
the reasons I could for not going to Egypt. All this 
time Bonaparte was going on with some confidential com- 
munication to me of his secret intentions and views ; and 
when it was ended, le seul mot, Arable, m'avait frappe 
Vorcille. Alors je voudrais m'avoir arrachee les cheverix; 
making the motion so to do, jwr«- p)ouvoir me raj^joeler ce 
qu'il venait vie dire. But I never could recall one single 
word or idea.' — ' AVhy did you not ask Caffarelli after- 
wards ? ' — 'I dared not, because I should have betrayed 
myself to him.' " 

Prony told Miss Edgeworth, that during Bona- 
parte's Spanish war he emjJo^-ed him to make 
logarithms, astronomical, and nautical tables, on a 
magnificent scale. Prony found that to execute 
what was required of him would take him aud all 


the philosophers of France a hundred and fifty 
years. He was very unhappy, having to do with a 
despot who ivould have his will executed. When the 
first volume of Smith's "Wealth of Nations" fell 
into his hands, he opened on the division of labor, 
our favorite pin-making : " Ha, ha ! voila mon affaire : 
je feral mes calcules comme on fait les epingles ! " 
And he divided the labor among two hundred men, 
who knew no more than the simple rules of arith- 
metic, whom he assembled in one large building; 
and these men-machines worked on, and the tables 
were made. 

Miss Edgeworth spoke French with as much ease 
and fluency as English ; and one evening she made 
herself very entertaining by some remarks on pecul- 
iarities of the French language, and the use of 
masculine and feminine words, when a lady rather 
rudely exclaimed, " Elle fait des calembourgs dans 
notre langue." 

The following remarks about the conversation at 
the Duchesse d'Escars's will give one an idea of the 
small-talk of Parisian fashionable society : — 

"We have seen Mile. Mars twice, or thrice rather, in 
the ' Mariage de Figaro,' and in the little pieces of ' Le 
Jaloux sans Amour,' and 'La Jeunesse de Henri Cinq,' 
and admire her exceedingly. In petit comite the other 
night at the Duchesse d'Escars's, a discussion took pLace 
between the Duchesse de la Force, Marmont, and Pozzo 
di Borgo, on the hon et mcmvais ton of different expres- 
sions : bonne societe is an expression boiirgeoise; you may 
say bonne comjKignie or la haute society. ' VoilCi des 
nuances,' as Mme. d'Escars said. Such a wonderful 


jabbering as these grandees made about these small 
matters ! It put me in mind of a conversation in ' The 
"World" on good company, which we all used to ad- 

Maria met INIme. Swetcliinc, the celebrated writer. 
She yays of her, " Mme. Swetchine, a Russian, is one 
of tlie cleverest women I ever heard converse." Of 
another Russian, Rostopchin, .she said, he declared 
''he would represent Russian civilization by a naked 
man looking at himself in a gilt-framed mirror," 

]\Iaria met Benjamin Constant at a friend's house. 
She said, — 

"I do not like him at all: his countenance, voice, 
manner, and conversation are all disagreeable to me. 
He is a fair, ichithlii/Aook'wg, man {sic), very near- 
sighted, with spectacles which seem to pinch his nose. 
. . . He has been well called the heros des brochures. 
AVe sat beside one another, and I think we felt a mutual 
antipathy. Ou the other side of me was Roj'cr-Collard, 
suffering with toothache and swelled face ; but, notwith- 
standing the distortion of the swelling, the natural expres- 
sion of his countenance, and the strength and sincerity of 
his soul, made their wa}' ; and the frankness of his char- 
acter, and the plain superiority of his talents, were mani- 
fest in five minutes' conversation." 

Mme. Le Brun, who was then painting the por- 
trait of the Princess Potemkin, pleased ]\Iaria very 
much by her vivacity, and animated talk about her 
varied experiences. "jNlme. Le Brun is sixty-six, 
with great vivacity as well as genius, and better 
worth seeing than her pictures ; for, though they are 
speaking, she speaks, and speaks uncommonly well." 


INIiss Edgewortli was very anxious as to the man- 
ner in which the memoir of her father would be 
received by her friends and tlie public. She was 
much gratified by an appreciative letter from Mrs. 
Rnxton, who told her how much she liked the book. 
She replied, — 

"You can scarcely conceive the pleasure which the 
letter I have just received from you has given me, as I 
was so anxious to know what 3-ou and Sophy thought 
of the ^)?^6//>s7ied memoirs : the irremedial)le words once 
past the press, I knew the happiness of my Ufe was at 
stake. Even if all the rest of the world had praised it, 
and you had been dissatisfied, how miserable I should 
have been ! Everybody, of every degree of rank and 
talent, who has read the ' Memoirs,' speaks of them in 
the most gratifying and delightful manner. Those who 
have fixed on individual circumstances have always fixed 
on those which we should have considered as most curi- 
ous. Mr. Malthus, this morning, spoke most highly of 
it, and of its useful tendency, both in a public and private 
light. Much as I have dreaded having it spoken of, all I 
have yet heard has been what best compensated for all 
the anxiety I have felt." 

While Miss Edgewortli was visiting at the coun- 
try-house of M. de Vind^, La Celle, she worked in 
the early morning hours at " Rosamond ; " and Mr. 
Hunter began at once to print it in July. 

"All had so changed from what it had been when Mr. 
Edgewortli was banished from Paris because Bonaparte 
supposed him to be the Abb6 Edge worth's brother, that 
now being considered connections of the Abbe de Fir- 

PARIS. 341 

mount was a passport for IMaria and her sisters to many 
of the houses of the ancieinie ; and they were 
specially invited to see a picture at Mme. de Caumont's 
of the Duchesse d' Angoulenie attending the Abbe Edge- 
worth's death-bed. 

"They always spoke of the Abbe Edgcworth as the 
Abbe de Firniount, which name he had taken because of 
the dilliculty the French found in the to and (h; Edge- 
rate being the usual attempt at the name. At one house 
a valet, after Maria had several times repeated to him 
'Edgcworth,' exclaimed, 'Ah! je renonce a (;^a,' and 
throwing open the door of the salon announced 3fme. 
Maria et mademoiselles ses soeurs." 

Man}' were the changes observed by Maria in the 
society of Paris. She wrote, — 

"A great change has taken place [in French society]. 
The men huddle together now in France as tliey used 
to do in England, talking politics, with their backs to the 
women, in a corner or even in the middle of the room, 
without minding them in the least : and the ladies com- 
plain and look disconsolate, and many ask ' if this be 
Paris ; ' and others scream Ultra nonsense or Liberal non- 
sense, to make themselves of consequence, and to attract 
the attention of the gentlemen." 

When Miss Edgeworth visited Paris, in 1803, 
with her father, she especially remarked on the 
absence of scandal, and the freedom from political 
questions, which distinguished the tone of conversa- 
tion. This was before she was aware of the entire 
suppression of thought and the espionage of the 
government. On her return to Paris, in 1820, she 


was greatly struck with the change in social affairs. 
Party spirit ran high ; and the verb politiquer, " to talk 
politics," had been coined to meet the needs of the 
day. In 1803 all were glad to find themselves 
safely among their friends and in their old homes. 
The recent horrors of the Revolution had subdued 
and softened the natural levity of the people. The 
aristocratic dwellers in the Faubourg St. Germain 
had learned that they were human, and could meet 
on terms of comparative civility the new nobles of 
Napoleon, raised from the very dregs of the people, 
— from common soldiers perhaps, who each carried, 
as Napier said not long after, " a marshal's baton in 
his knapsack." The autocratic rule of Napoleon 
subdued the spirits and sui:)pressed the tongues of 
the opponents of his government. This gave litera- 
ture and science the greater opportunity to assert 
their sway and manifest their charms. Now all was 
different. The Liberal or Constitutional party was 
divided from the Ultras by a strong line of demarka- 
tion: the society of the two parties was almost 
entirely distinct. There were a few favored indi- 
viduals whom one met at the salons of both the 
returned Emigres^ and in the houses of the Constitu- 
tionals. These inventors of imaginary constitutions 
delighted to call themselves by this name, but the 
Bourbons contemptuously named them the "Lib- 

Maria was often much interested in hearing in the 
same evening the very opposite opinions expressed 
by the adherents of these parties ; as she frequently 
visited a salon of some lady of the ancien regime, 

PARIS. 343 

and then went among tlie " Liberals " for a while 
before returning home. Her sympathies were not 
enlisted on either side ; but she found much to 
attract and please her in the variety of thought, the 
interchange of experience, and the novelty of the 
views she heard. The old aristocracy were charmed 
with the culture of Miss Edgeworth, and her knowl- 
edge of old French classical literature ; and this 
opened the way for long and agreeable conversa- 
tions on the earlier days of their lives. Many a 
strange and romantic adventure, many of the terri- 
ble events of the early days of the French Revolu- 
tion, were told her by those who had actually played 
a part in those dreadful scenes. 

The ready sympathy and genuine interest which 
Miss Edgeworth always showed in conversation, her 
excellent powers as a good listener, made one of the 
special charms of her friendship. Those who were 
struck at first by her wit, ready humor, and genius, 
were always impressed with the fact that she was as 
good a listener as a talker. Among the scientific 
men who had been employed and patronized by 
Napoleon I., Maria found many friends ; for she had 
a strong admiration for the genius of the emperor, 
and had hardly seen enough of the corruption of his 
government to realize the state of affairs which his 
usurpation had entailed on France. She expressed 
herself si netfement, as one of his adherents said, that 
the men who still clung to his memory and admired 
his capacity for rule enjoyed telling her of their 
affairs, as Prony did in describing his method of 
making calculations to order. 


Miss Edgeworth saw all sides of the social life of 
Paris, and many years after she referred to her own 
experiences in writing her story of "Helen." She 
alludes thus to the sad changes then existing in the 
society of Paris : — 

"'Lady Davenant,' turning to a French gentleman, 
spoke of the alterations she bad observed wben sbe was 
last at Paris, from the overwhelming violence of party 
spirit on all sides. ' Dreadfully true,' the French gentle- 
man replied : ' party spirit, taking every Protean form, 
calling itself by a hundred names, and with a thousand 
devices and watchwords, which would be too ridiculous 
if they were not too terrible ; domestic happiness dis- 
placed ; all society disordered, disorganized ; literature 
not able to support herself, scarcely appearing in com- 
pany, — all precluded, superseded, by the politics of the 

"Lady Davenant joined with him in his regrets, and 
added that she feared society in England would soon be 
brought to the same condition. 

"'No,' said the French gentleman, ' English ladies 
will never be so vehement as my countrywomen : they 
will never become, I hope, like some of our lady politi- 
cians, "qui hurlent comme les demons." ' 

"Lady Cecilia said, that, from what she had seen at 
Paris, she was persuaded, that, if the ladies did bawl too 
loud, it was because the gentlemen did not listen to them ; 
that above half the party-violence which appeared in the 
Parisian belles was merely dramatic, to produce a sensa- 
tion, and draw the gentlemen from the black '■'■j)elotons'' in 
which they gathered, back to their proper positions round 
VnQ fauteuils oi the fair ladies." 


Tlie Emigrants spoke of the Liberals with the bit- 
terest detestation, as revolutionary monsters. The 
Liberals spoke of Ultras as bigoted idiots ; as one of 
them said of a lady, celebrated in 1803 as a wit and 
brilliant converser, " Autrefois elle avait de I'esprit, 
— mais elle est dcvenu Ultra, dtjvote et bete." 

Before leaving Paris the sisters paid one visit 
which amused them. They " received a note from 
Mme. Lavoisier, — Mme. de Rumford I mean, — tell- 
ing us that she had just arrived in Paris, and warndy 
begging to see us. Rejoiced was I that my sisters 
should have this glimpse of her, and off we drove to 
her ; but I must own that we were disappointed in this 
visit, for there was a sort of chuffiness, and a sawdust 
kind of unconnected cut-shortness, in her manner, 
which we could not like. She was almost in the 
dark, with one ballooned lamp, and a semi-circle of 
black men round her sofa, on which she sat cush- 
ioned up for conversation ; and a very odd course 
she gave to it, — on some wife's separation from 
her husband, and she took the wife's part, and 
went on for a long time in a shrill voice, proving 
that where a husband and wife detested each other, 
they should separate, and asserting that it must 
always be the man's fault when it comes to this 
pass. She ordered another lamp, that the gentle- 
men might, as she said, see my sisters' pretty faces ; 
and the light came in time to see the smiles of the 
gentlemen at her matrimonial maxims." They went 
again, and found her " very agreeable " on that 

Among other friends whom they met in Paris was 


Tom Moore, who was living in the Champs Elysiens. 
He received a note from Miss Eclgeworth, asking him 
to call upon her ; and a few days later she invited him 
to join a party to the Marquis d' Osmonds at Chate- 
ray. He tells a story of the husband of one of 
Maria's sisters. He wanted to ask for "pump- 
water," and looked in the dictionary for "pump," 
and, finding " escarpin " (which means a light shoe), 
asked for " escarpin eau." 

Miss Edgeworth had long promised herself and the 
Moilliets that she would visit them at Geneva, and 
therefore the sisters left Paris late in July for Switz- 

Maria's first impressions of Mont Blanc, she said, 
" will remain an era in my life, — a new idea, a new 
feeling standing alone in my mind." 

They made an excursion to Chamouni, in company 
with several friends. Dumont was with them con- 
stantly during their stay in Switzerland ; and M. Pic- 
tet, INIaria found " as kind, as active, and as warm- 
hearted as ever." At Chamouni they met Arago, the 
noted astronomer. At a delightful dinner at Mrs. 
Marcet's, INIiss Edgeworth met M, Dumont, M. and 
Mme. Prevost, M. de la Rive, M. Bonstetten, M. de 
Candolle, the noted botanist, " a particularly agree- 
able man." 

Miss Edgeworth enjoyed much the renewal of her 
intimacy with M. Dumont. She found him " very 
kind and cordial : he seems to enjoy universal con- 
sideration here ; and he loves Mont Blanc, next to 
Bentham, above all created things." 

GENEVA. 347 

" TTe speaks in the kindest, most tender and affcot ion- 
ate miinner of our ' Memoirs : ' he says he hcai's from 
EngUxnd, and from all who have read them, that they 
have produced the effect we wished and hoped. The 
manuscript had interested him, he said, so deeply, tliat 
with all his efforts he could not put himself in the place 
of the indifferent public." 

This period of social life in Geneva has l)een 
called the " Augustan age " of that city by those 
who knew its attractions well. An unnsual number 
of eminent scientific and literary people formed its 
society, and a generous and unostentatious hospi- 
tality was characteristic of its inhabitants. There 
were charming re-unions in the summer evenings, by 
moonlight, on lawns sloping to the banks of the 
lake ; and other entertainments in the old city itself 
gave a constant variety to the days passed there. 
The drives also were charming ; and after an early 
morning excursion from Pregny, the home of the 
Moilliets, they found themselves for the first time at 
Coppet, made classic ground by the memory of 
Mme. de Stael, then, alas ! no more. Maria wrote, — 

"All the rooms inhabited by Mme. de Stael, we could 
not think of as common rooms : they have a classical 
power over the mind ; and this was heightened by the 
strong attachment and respect for her memory shown in 
every word and look, and silence, by her son, and her 
friend Miss Randall. He is correcting for the press ' Les 
Dix Annees d'Exil.' M. de Stael, after breakfast, took 
us a delightful walk through the grounds, which he is 
improving with good taste and judgment. He told me 


that his mother never gave any work to the public in the 
form in which she originally composed it: she changed 
the arrangement and expression of her thoughts with 
such facility, and was so little attached to her own first 
views of the subject, that often a work was completely 
remodelled by her while passing through the press. Her 
father disliked to see her make any formal preparations 
for writing when she was young ; so that she used often 
to write on the corner of the chimney-piece, or on a 
pasteboard held in her hand, and always in the room with 
others, for her father could not bear her to be out 
of the room : and this habit of writing without prepara- 
tion she preserved ever afterwards. M. de Stael told me 
of a curious interview he had with Bonaparte when he 
was enraged with his mother, who had published remarks 
on his government, concluding with ' Eh bien ! vous avez 
raison ainsi je consols, qu'un fils doit toujours faire la 
defense de sa mdre ; mais enfin, si monsieur veut ecrire 
dcs libcUes, il faut aller en Angleterre. Ou bien, s'il 
chcrche la gloire, c'est en Angleterre qu'il faut aller. 
C'est Angleterre ou la France — il n'y a que ces deux 
pa3^s en Europe — dans le monde ! ' . . . 

"M. de Stael called his little brother, Alphonse Eoeca, 
to introduce him to us : he is a pleasing, gentle-looking, 
ivory-pale boy, with dark-blue eyes, not the least like 
Mme. de Stael. M. de Stael speaks English perfectly, 
and with the air of an English man of fashion." 

After the delightful trip to Chamoiun, a tour 
round the Lake of Geneva was proposed and made 
by the sisters, accompanied by M. Dumont. They 
travelled "in one of the carriages of the country, 
a mixture of a sociable and an Irish jingle, with 
some resemblance to a hearse." While at Lausanne 


the party made a visit, Sept. 15, to the author of a 
once famous novel. Maria described their difficul- 
ties ill an amusing letter : — 

" Our first ol)ject this morning was to see Mme. de 
Montolieu, the author of 'Caroline de Licbfeld,' to 
whom I had a letter of introduction. She was not at 
Lausanne, we were told, but at her country-house, Bus- 
signy, about a league and a half from the town. We had 
a delicious, fine morning ; and through romantic lanes, 
and up and down hills, till we found ourselves in the 
midst of a ploughed field, when the coachman's pride of 
ignorance had to give up, and he had to beg his way to 
Bussigny, a village of scattered Swiss cottages high 
upon rocks, with far-spreading prospect below. In the 
court of the house which we were told was Mme. de 
Montolicu's, we saw a lady, of a tall, upright, active- 
looking figure, with much the appearance of a gentle- 
woman ; but we could not think that this was Mme. de 
Montolieu, because for the last half-hour Dumout, impa- 
tient at our losing our way, had been saying she must be 
too old to receive us. ' She was very old thirty years 
ago : she must be quatre-vingt, at least ; ' at last it came 
to ' quatre-vingt-dix.' This lady did not look above fifty. 
She came to the carriage as it stopped, and asked whom 
we wished to see. The moment I saw her eyes, I knew 
it was Mme. de Montolieu ; and, stooping down from the 
open carriage, I put into her hand the letter of introduc- 
tion and our card. She never opened the note ; but the 
instant her eye had glanced upon the card, she repeated 
the name with a voice of joyful welcome. I jumped out 
of the carriage ; and she embraced me so cordially, and 
received my sisters so kindly, and M. Dumout so politely, 
that we were all at ease and acquainted and delighted 


before we were half-way up-stairs. While she went into 
the ante-chamber for a basket of peaches, I had time to 
look at the prints hung in the little drawing-room : they 
had struck me the moment we came in as scenes from 
' Caroline de Lichfeld ; ' indifferent, old-fashioned, pro- 
voking figures, — Caroline and Count Walstein in the 
fashions of thirty years ago. 

"When Mme. de Montolieu returned, she bade me not 
to look at them ; ' but I will tell you how they came to be 
here.' They had been given to her by Gibbon: he was 
the person who published 'Caroline de Lichfeld.' She 
had written it for the entertainment of an aunt who was 
ill : a German story of three or four pages gave her the 
first idea of it. ' I never could invent : give me a hint, 
and I can go on and supply the details and the charac- 
ters.' Just when 'Caroline de Lichfeld' was finished, 
Gibbon became acquainted with her aunt, who showed it 
to him : he seized upon the manuscript, and said it must 
be published. It ran in four months through several 
editions ; and just when it was in its first vogue. Gibbon 
happened to be in London, saw those prints, and brought 
them over to her, telling her that he had brought her a 
present of prints from London, but that he would only 
give them to her on condition that she would promise to 
hang them, and let them always hang, in her drawing- 
room. After many vain efforts to find out what manner 
of things they were. Gibbon and curiosity prevailed : she 
promised, and there they hang. 

" She must have been a beautiful woman. She told 
me she is seventy ; fine, dark, enthusiastic eyes, a quickly 
varying countenance, full of life, and with all the warmth 
of heart and imagination which is thought to belong only 
to youth. Very sorry to part with her." 

COPPET. 351 

Tins lady had an immense reputation at one time 
in England : Miss Anna Seward wrote to Miss Powys 
of the Abbey in 1786 : — 

" The ingenious French lady to whom we are indebted 
for ' Caroline de Licbfeld ' has found a competency and a 
husband through its pages. A rich widower of lifty-three, 
on the confines of Germany, respectable in rank and 
character, whose children are married, and settled at a 
distance from him, read that novel and felt its exact sense. 
Personally unknown to the author, he inquired into her 
situation, and found her merits acknowledged, and her 
reputation spotless. He has married her. The instance 
is rare: Hymen passing by the fane of Cytherea and 
Plutus' shrine to light his torch at the altar of Genius." 

She also described the book to another friend: 
" The most charming novel I have read these many 
years, 'Caroline de Lichfeld,' formed part of our 
amusement at Calwich. It is unique of its kind, 
resembling no other novel." 

A pleasant visit was made to the Marcets at Ma- 
ligny; and then Maria wrote from the Chateau de 
Coppet, Sept. 28, 8 a.m. 

' ' We came here yesterday ; and here we are in the very 
apartments occupied by M. Necker, opening into what is 
now the library, but what was once that theatre on which 
Mme. de Stael used to act her own ' Corinne.' Yesterday 
evening, when Mme. de Broglie had placed me next the 
oldest friend of the family, M. de Bonstettin, he whis- 
pered to me ' You are now in the exact spot, in the very 
chair, where Mme. de Stael used to sit.' Her friends were 
excessively attached to her. This old man talked of her 


with tears in his eyes, and with all the sudden changes of 
countenance, and twitchings of the muscles, which mark 
strong uncontrollable feelings. 

"There is something inexpressibly melancholy, awful, 
in this house, in these rooms, where the thought continually 
recurs: here Genius teas; here was Ambition, Love! 
all the great struggles of tlie passions, — here was Mme. 
de Staiil ! The respect paid to her memory by her son 
and daughter and by M. de Broglie is touching. The 
little Rocca, seven years old, is an odd, cold, prudent 
old-man sort of child, as unlike as possible to the son 3^ou 
would have expected from such parents. M. Rocca, 
brother to the boy's father, is here — handsome, but I know 
no more. M. Sismondi and his wife dined here, etc. 

" M. de Stael has promised to show to me Gibbon's 
letters to his grandmother, ending regularly with, ' Je 
suis, mademoiselle, avec les seutimens qui font le des- 
espoir de ma vie.' " 

With M. de Stael and Mme. de Broglie, Maria was 
particularly happy. It had been reported that Mme. 
de Stael had said of Maria's writings " Que Miss 
Edgeworth etait digne de I'enthousiasme, mais qu'elle 
s'est perdue dans la triste utility." — "Ma mere n'a 
jamais dit 9a." Mme. de Broglie indignantly de- 
clared, " elle etait incapable I " She saw the enthu- 
siastic admiration Maria expressed for her mother's 
genius, and felt it was not true that Maria wanted 
enthusiasm. Yet it is likely Mme. de Stael did say 
this : it sounds like her rhetorical declamation when, 
excited in conversation, she often generalized in a 
sweeping manner. 

Maria heard with pleasure "the most gratifying 

MNE. DE STAiiL. 363 

terms of praii?G of" her father's life from M. de 
Stael and Miss Randall. M. Dumont had many 
anocdotes of Umc. de Stacl's early life to tell Maria. 
He told her that " one day U. Suard, as he entered 
the salon of the Hotel Necker, saw Mme. Necker 
going out of the room, and ^lUe. Necker standing in 
a melancholy attitude with tears in her eyes. Guess- 
ing that Mme. Necker had been lecturing her, Suard 
went towards her to comfort her, and whispered 
' Une caresse du papa dddommagera bien de tout ^a.' 
She immediatel}^ wiping the tears from her eyes, 
answered 'Eh! oui, monsieur, mon pere songe a 
mon bonheur present, mamma songe a mon avenir.' 
There was more than presence of mind, there was 
heart and soul, and greatness of mind, m this answer," 
says Miss Edgeworth in conclusion. 

While " Rosamond " was being printed, Mr. Hun- 
ter found that there was not enough manuscript to 
complete two volumes: so Maria instantly set to work 
while at Pregny, in October; and though in the 
midst of distractions, social and friendly, of her 
friends the Moilliets' house, she completed the vol- 
ume by writing, with her usual ease and spirit, " The 
Bracelet of INIemory " and " Blind Kate." 

" Pregny was a beautiful place, commanding su- 
perb views of the lake and Mont Blanc." It was as 
interesting in its history as it was beautiful : it had 
been the property of the Empress Josephine. It 
was a fine, large house; and here Maria and her 
sisters enjoyed all the advantages of a second home. 
They had three large rooms, besides another joining 
the drawing-room, where Maria usually wrote in the 


M. Pictet de Rochemont, brother of the Edge- 
worths' old friend Marc Auguste Pictet, took much 
interest in Miss Edgeworth's "• Life of her Father," 
and with great care translated the best passages 
from it, for the " Biblotheque Universelle." They 
visited him at his house, and were there introduced to 
Mme. Necker de Saussure, the author of a work 
on "Progressive Education." Miss Edgeworth, who 
thought this book dull and tedious, found the author 
of it much more agreeable than her writings. 

M. Dumont once, in speaking of this lady, who 
wrote the life of her gifted cousin, Mme. de Stael, 
said, — 

" She never comprehended her cousin : after the 
most glorious burst of Mme. de Stael's enthusiasm, 
Mme. Necker de Saussure would come with her com- 
passes, and she would go so far, and so far, and no 
farther," — opening his fingers, suiting the action to 
the words, and moving liis finger and thumb like a 
pair of compasses as he spoke. 

M. Dumont, who was proud of his country, and 
loved its beautiful and magnificent scenery, always 
*' cheerful, witty, and wise," made a charming com- 
panion ; and they enjoj^ed his society extremely. 

The last of October the sisters left the hospitable 
house of the Moilliets, and made their way towards 
Paris. On their journey they stopped at Lyons, 
associated in their minds with the scenes of their 
father's early life, and the months he passed there 
in arranging the work on the river. They arrived 
at Paris the 27th of October, and took lodgings in 
the Rue Ste. Honore. 


A painful experience awaited Miss Edgeworth. 
"The Quarterly Review" made a most offensive 
attack upon the "Memoir" of Mr. Edgeworth. It 
ridiculed the anecdotes, questioned the facts, and, in 
fact, showed the acrimonious spirit of personal spite, 
instead of the dispassionate survey of a literary 
work, which is usually supposed to be the proper 
mission of a review. Hazlitt said once, sarcastically, 
of this "Review," — 

"Mr. Croker is understood to contribute the St. He- 
lena articles and the liberality ; Mr. Canning, the practical 
good sense ; Mr. D'Israeli, the good nature ; Mr. Jacob, 
the modesty; Mr. Southey, the consistency; and the 
editor himself (Gifford), the chivalrous spirit, and the 
attacks on Lady Morgan." 

Miss Edgeworth herself did not feel this ungene- 
rous attack as strongly as her friends felt it for her. 
She wrote to her aunt, "Never lose another night's 
sleep, or another moment's thought, on ' The Quar- 
terly Review.' I have never read, and never will 
read it." Some days after this she wrote again : — 

"You would scarcely believe, my dear friends, the 
calm of mind, and the sort of satisfied resignation, I feel 
as to my father's 'Life.' I suppose the two years of 
doubt and extreme anxiety that I felt exhausted all my 
power of doubting. 1 know that I have done my very 
best; I know that I have done my duty; and I firmly 
believe, that, if my dear father could see the whole, he 
would be satisfied with what 1 have done." 

The article in "The Quarterly" was the most 
abusive and ill-natured piece of personality imagin- 


able. After impugning tlie most simple motives of 
jNIr. Edgewortli's account of himself; stating that 
many of his anecdotes are false ; criticising his rela- 
tions with his family, his four marriages, to which the 
reviewer tries to add a fifth, — in short, making out 
of the bonhomie and the harmless egotisms of Mr. 
Edgeworth the most frightful insinuations against 
his moral character, — the article lays great stress on 
the fact, that Mr. Edgeworth was not a Christian, 
and considers his daughter as sadly wanting in refine- 
ment, and in appreciation of her father's shortcom- 
ings as a man and a Christian. It is hard to say 
what the reviewer considered Christianity ; for Mr. 
Edgeworth was a regular attendant at the Episcopal 
Church in Edgeworthstown, took a friendly interest 
in its clergymen, and made himself agreeable to the 
ministers of other denominations who might be there 
for religious purposes ; often entertaining them, as 
well as the Roman-Catholic parish priest, at his own 
table. He married, with the full consent and appro- 
bation of her father, the daughter of one clergyman 
of the Church of England, and the sister of another 
as liis fourth wife. Miss Beaufort. He counted 
among his intimate friends several dignitaries of 
the Church, including the Primate of Ireland and 
Bishop Foster. In concluding the article, the re- 
viewer says, — 

""We have now done our painful task; and, ou the 
whole, GUV greatest o1)jcction to the work is, that it must 
lower Mr. Edgewortli's reputation, and not raise that 
of his dauohter. There is much to blame, and little to 


praise, in what they, with a mistaken and self-deceptive 
partiality, record of him. His own share of the work 
is silly, trivial, vain, :iiid inaccurate ; hers, by its own 
pompous claims to approbation, fails of what a more 
modest exposition would have obtained, and miglit have 
been entitled to. Mr. Edgeworth had some ingenuity, 
great liveliness, great activity, a large share of good sense 
(particularly when he wrote), of good nature, and of 
good temper. He was a prudent and just landlord, a 
kind liusl)and (except to his second wife), an affection- 
ate parent ; but he was superficial, not well founded in 
any branch of knowledge, yet dabbling in all. As a 
mechanic, he showed no originality, but some powers 
of application ; as a public man, he was hasty, injudi- 
cious, inconsistent, and onhj not mischievous ; in society 
we must, notwithstanding Miss Edgeworth's dutiful par- 
tiality, venture to say that he was as disagreeable as 
loquacity, egotism, and a little tinge now and then of 
indelicacy, could make him ; but, with all these draw- 
backs, his life was, as far as we have heard or seen, on 
the whole, more useful, more respectable, than the repre- 
sentation which is here given of it. For his reputation, 
these two volumes of biography ought to be forgotten." 

She received the following kindly and sympathetic 
words from two Geneva friends at this time : — 

Geneve, Nov. 7, 1820. 
" Je ne sais, mon amiable ami, si je devais vous ^crire 
au moment ou j'ai le coeur bless6 de cette attaque calom- 
nieuse de 'Quarterly Review.' J'ai en regret de n'etre 
pas aupr^s de vous lorsqu'il a paru. Je vous aurai aid6 
peut-etre a envisager avec plus de fermet^ une agression 
qui doit faire plus de tort a ses auteurs qu'a vous, et je ne 


crains qu'apr^s la premiere expression de chagrin, d&s que 
vous aurez le loisirde la reflexion, vous sentirez que tons ce 
qui respecte I'honneur, la deceuce, le sentiment filial, par- 
tageront votre indignation. Si par hazard vous n'avez pas 
lu cette infame article je vous conseillerais de ne pas le 
lire, et de I'abandonner au mepris public." 

This letter shows the generous sympathy of Du- 
mont on this occasion. 

Mrs. Marcet, who was just setting out for Italy, 
wrote to Miss Edge worth : — 

"I cannot make up my mind, my dear friend, to take 
my departure for a still more distant country without 
again bidding you adieu. I have hesitated for some time 
past : ' Shall I, or shall I not, write to Miss Edgeworth? ' 
for I felt that I could not write without touching on an 
article in the ' Quarterly ; ' a subject which makes my 
blood boil with indignation, and which rouses every feel- 
ing of contempt and abhorrence. I might, indeed, refrain 
from the expression of these sentiments ; but how could I 
restrain all those feelings of the warmest interest, the ten- 
derest sympathy, and the softest pity, for your wounded 
feelings? I well remember the wish you one day so 
piously expressed to me, that your father could look down 
from heaven, and see the purity and zeal of your inten- 
tions in writing his memoirs. I am sure your heavenly 
Father does see them ; and I feel that this unjust, un- 
christian, inquisitorial attack will not only develop fresh 
sentiments of the tenderest nature in your friends, but 
also rally every human being of sound sense around 

" The Edinburgh Review," in commenting on the 
"Memoir" of Mr. Edgeworth, said that the most 

PARIS. 359 

remarkable th'mg; about the work was, that the first 
was, on the whole, better than the second. 

"It is very lively, rapid, and various, enlivened with 
a great number of anecdotes and cliaractcrs ; and if not 
indicating any extraordinary reach of thought, or lofti- 
ness of feeling, exhibiting, in rather a pleasing and can- 
did way, tlie history of a very active and cultivated mind, 
and scattering about everywhere the indications of a 
good-humored complacency, and a light-hearted and in- 
dulgent gayety. The otber is too solemn and didactic ; 
and, though there are many passages full of interest and 
instruction, it overflows so much with praise and gratitude, 
and duty and self-denial, as to go near being dull and 

" The North American Review," in summing up a 
notice of the book, said Mr. Edgeworth's "Memoir" 
belonged neither to the style of the Confessions of 
St. Augustine nor those of Rousseau. 

The sisters visited much during their second stay 
in Paris, and saw their friends the Delesserts, and 
others, constantly. They had a " splendid and most 
agreeable dinner," given them by Mme. de Rumford. 
This lady, who was the widow of the celebrated 
chemist, Lavoisier, was again a widow, after years 
of separation from her second husband, the eccen- 
tric man of science. Count Rumford, with whom she 
lived most unhappily. 

They visited the celebrated Mme.^ de la Roche- 

1 Widow of Henri de la Rochejaquelin, famous for his actions in 
La Vendee. 


"She had just arrived from the country; and we 
found ourselves in a large hotel, in which all the winds of 
heaven were blowing, and in which, as we went up-stairs 
and crossed the ante-chambers, all was darkness, except 
one candle, which the servant carried before us. In a 
small bedroom, well furnished, with a fire just lighted, 
we found Mme. de Rochejaqueliu lying on a sofa, her two 
daugliters at work, one spinning with a distaff, and the 
other embroidering muslin. Madame is a large, fat wo- 
man, with a broad, fair face, with a most open, benevolent 
expression, — as benevolent as Molly Bristow's or as Mrs. 
Brinkley's. Her hair cut short, and perfectly gray, as 
seen under her cap ; the rest of her face much too young 
for such gray locks, not at all the hard, weather-beaten 
look that had been described to us ; and though her face 
and bundled form and dress, all squashed on a sofa, did 
not at first promise much of gentility, you could not 
hear her speak or see her for three minutes without per- 
ceiving that she was well born and well bred. She had 
hurt her leg, which was the cause of her lying on the 
sofa. It seemed a grievous penance, as she is of as 
active a temper as ever. She says her health is perfect, 
but a nervous disease in her eyes has nearly deprived her 
of sight : she could hardly see my face, though I sat as 
close as I could go to the sofa. 

" ' I am always very sorry,' said she, ' when any stranger 
sees me, parce-que je sais que je detruis toute illusion. Je 
sais que je devrais avoir I'air d'une h(^u'oine, et surtout 
que je devrais avoir Fair malheureuse, ou epuise au moins 
— rein de tout cela, helas ! ' 

"She is much better than a heroine, — she is benevo- 
lence and truth itself. She begged her daughters to take 
us into the salon, to show us what she thought would 
interest us. She apologized for the cold of these rooms, 


and well she might: when tho doul tic-doors were opened, 
I really tiiought Eolus himself was puffing in our faces ; 
we sliawled ourselves well before we ventured in. At 
one end of the salox is a picture of M. de Lescure, and 
at the other of Henri de la Rochejaquclin, bj' Gerard and 
Girodet, presents from the king. Fine military figures. 
In the boudoir is one of M. de la Rochejaquclin, much 
the finest of all : she has never yet looked at this picture. 
Far from being disappomted, I was much gratified with 
this visit." 

jNIiss Edgewortli was much dii^appointed in seeing 
Talleyrand, and heard notliing bnt tlie merest com- 
monplaces from him. He appeared determined to 
avoid her, though they met Irequenth* in large as- 

During these two visits in Paris, Miss Edgcworth 
met several persons who desired the privilege of 
translating her works. Among these was a Mile. 
Swinton, afterwards Mme. Belloc, an IrishAvoman by 
descent, but Parisian by birth and education. At 
this time she was a very young lad}*, and she in- 
terested Miss Edgeworth very much. They cor- 
responded for many years after this. She made 
excellent translations of Miss Edgeworth's books, 
and was her life-long friend and admirer. 



Return to England. — Bowood. — Ireland. — Improvements in Edge- 
worthstown. — England in 1821. — Visits to Smetliwick Grove. — 
Wycombe Abbey. — Mr. Wilberforce. — Gatcombe Park. — Anec- 
dotes. — Easton Grey. — Bowood. — Salisbury Cathedral. — Deej)- 
dene. — Sequel to " Frank." — Hampstead. — " The Pirate " read. 
— Misses Baillie. — Mrs. Somerville. — Many Literarj' People. — 
Anecdotes. — Mrs. Fry's Reading at Newgate. — Almacks. — Sir 
Walter Scott invites Maria to Abbotsford. — She accepted for a 
Few Months Later. — London Society. — Mrs. Siddons's Acting. — 
Ireland. — " Harry and Lucy." — A Visit to Scotland. — The Stu- 
arts. — Edinburgh. — Mrs. Fletcher's Description of Maria.— 

After several months on the Continent, passed 
very agreeably among friends and in the gay salons 
of Paris, the scientific and hospitable homes of 
Switzerland, and surrounded by its magnificent 
scenery, the Misses Edgeworth returned to England 
in December, 1820, by the way of Calais. They 
made no stay in London , simply waiting long enough 
to see Mr. Hunter about the printing of " Rosa- 
mond," then in the press, and to arrange about the 
second edition of the " Memoirs," which had been 
corrected, and was also being printed at this 

They went for a little visit to Bowood, after a 
week at Clifton with Mrs. Beddoes. Miss Edge- 
worth gave a glimpse of the life at the pleasant 
home of the Lansdownes, saying, — 

BOWOOD. 363 

" AtBowood there was a happy mixture of sense and 
nouseuse. Lord Laiisdowne was talking to me on tlie 
nice little sofa by the lire, seriously, of Windham's life 
and death, and of a journal which he wrote to cure him- 
self of indecision of character. Enter suddenly, with a 
great burst of noise, from the breakfast- room, a troop of 
gentlemen, neighing like horses. You never saw a man 
look more surprised than Lord Lansdowne. 

" Re-enter the same performers on all-fours, grunting 
like pigs. 

" Then a company of ladies and gentlemen in dumb 
show, doing a country-visit, ending with asking for a 
frank, courtesying, bowing and exit, — neighbor. 

"Then enter all the gentlemen, some with their fingers 
on their eyes, some delighted with themselves, — I. 

" Then re-enter Lord Lansdowne, the two Mr. Smiths, 
Mr. Hallam, and Fazakerley, each with little dolls made 
of their pocket-handkerchiefs, nursing and playing with 
them, — doll. 

' ' Exit and re-enter, carrying and surrounding and 
worshipping Mrs. Ord, — idol. This does not do for 
sober reading, but it produced much laughter." 

They left Bowood, and proceeded to Ireland. On 
their arrival in Dublin, Miss Edgewortli had a severe 
illness, and was detained by it for a while. After 
her recovery she visited her aunt, Mrs. Ruxton, at 
Black Castle. 

The Jewish lady, Miss Mordecai of Richmond, 
Va., wrote Miss Edgeworth a letter about the 
memoir , which Maria said was " written in a spirit 
of Christian charit}' and kindness which it were to 
be wished that all Christians possessed," and the 
letter pleased her very much. 


Miss Edgeworth wrote when slie heard of the 
death of Napoleon I. : — 

" So Bouaparte is dead ! And no change will be made 
in any country by the death of a man who once made 
such a figure in the world. He who commanded empires 
and sovereigns, a prisoner in an obscure island, disputing 
for a bottle of wine, subject to the petty tyranny of Sir 
Hudson Lowe. I regret that England permitted that 
trampling on the fallen. What an excellent dialogue of 
the dead might be written between Bonaparte and Themis- 

She read "The Spy" during the summer, and 
speaks of the "new scenes and characters, humor 
and pathos; a picture of America in Washington's 
time, a surgeon worthy of Smollett or jNIoore, quite 
different from any of their various surgeons ; and an 
Irishwoman, Betty Flanagan, incomparable." 

Miss Edgeworth was always much interested in 
the pf)or of Edgeworthstown, and in endeavoring to 
ameliorate their condition. She asked a friend in 
writing of her summer's work, — 

" What do you think is my employment out of doors, 
and what it has been this week past ? My garden ? No 
such elegant thing : l)ut making a gutter, a sewer, and a 
pathway, in the street of Edgeworthstown ; and I do de- 
clare I am as much interested about it as I ever was in 
writing any thing in my life. We have never here yet 
found- it necessary to have recourse to public contribu- 
tions for the poor ; but it is necessary to give some as- 
sistance to the laboring class, and I find that making the 
said gutter and pathway will employ twenty men for three 


weeks. . . . Did j'ou ever liear these two excellent Tory 
Hues made by a celebrated AVliig — 

* As bees alighting upon flowerets cease to hum, 
So, settling upon places, Whigs grow dumb'? " 

Many of Miss Edgewortli's friends in England had 
urged her to revisit tliem during tliis year, and she 
determined to pass the Avinter of 1821-22 there. She 
started in October, accompanied by her two half-sis- 
ters, Fanny and Harriet, who had been with her on 
the Continent. Their first visit was at Smethwick 
Grove, the home of the Moilliets. There they 
"missed by not arriving last night," ]\Iaria wrote, 
" a Frenchman who has been seventeen years learn- 
ing to play on the flute, and cannot play ; and who 
has been ten years learning to speak English, and 
yet told IMrs. Moilliet that he had a letter to Lord 
Porcelain, to whom his mother is related, meaning 
the Duke of Portland. Pie left this, determined to 
see the residence of ' Lord Malbrouke,' and would 
not be persuaded that the Duke of Marlborough was 
not called ' Va-t-en JNIalbrouke.' " 

After some days with the Moilliets, they went to 
Wycombe Abbey, the home of Lord Carrington. 
Among other distinguished and agreeable people 
Miss Edgeworth met there, she renewed her ac- 
quaintance with Mr. Wilberforce. She wrote : — 

"We have had Mr. Wilberforce for several days; and 
I cannot tell you how glad I am to have seen him again, 
and to have had an opportunity of hearing his delightful 
conversation, and of seeing the extent and variety of his 


abilities. He is not at all anxious to show himself off : 
he converses, he does not merely talk. His thoughts flow 
in such abundance, and from so many sources, that they 
often cross one another ; and sometimes a reporter would 
be quite at a loss. As he literally seems to speak all his 
thoughts as they occur, he produces what strikes him on 
both sides of any question. This often puzzles his hear- 
ers, but to me it is a proof of candor and sincerity ; and 
it is both amusing and instructive to see him thus bal- 
ancing accounts aloud. He is very lively and full of odd 
contortions : no matter. His indulgent, benevolent tem- 
per strikes me particularly : he makes no pretension to 
superior sanctity or strictness. He spoke with much re- 
spect and tenderness for my feelings, of my father, and 
of the 'Life.'" 

" We are reading Mme. de Stael's ' Dix Annies 
d'Exil ' with delight. With its faults there are so many 
brilliant passages, and things which no one but her- 
self could have thought or said ; and it will last as long 
as the memory of Bonaparte lasts on earth." 

She was told in connection with some conversation 
in this book, that the Swedish ambassador said Mme. 
de Stael's letters were intercepted, and it was found 
she was intriguing to set Bernadotte on the throne 
of France. This, alleged as the cause of Napoleon's 
enmity to her, Miss Edgeworth was not willing to 

Their stay at Lord Carrington's was delightful. 
He gave them a lovely suite of rooms, including a 
private sitting-room for Miss Edgewortli's own use. 
After their very agreeable stay at Wycombe Abbey, 
they went to Gatcombe Park, the residence of Mr. 


David Ricardo, the eminent writer on political econ- 
omy and kindred snbjects. In tins charming family 
they enjoyed some days, which were pleasantly varied 
by the beautiful drives, and interesting talks with 
^Ir. Ricardo of whom Maria wrote : — 

"Mr. Ricardo, with a very composed manner, has a 
coutimial Hfe of mind, and starts perpetually new game 
iu conversation. I never argued or discussed a question 
with an}' person who argues more fairly, or less for victory, 
and more for truth. lie gives full weight to every argu- 
ment brought against him, and seems not to be on any 
side of the question for one instant longer than the con- 
viction of his mind on that side. It seems quite indif- 
ferent to him whether you find the truth, or whether he 
finds it, provided it be found." 

They met a Miss Strackey here at dinner. She 
told Maria she was at school witli the young ladies 
who wrote to her about the wedding-dresses in the 
" Contrast," and well remembered their delight at 
her entertaining answer. 

At this same dinner an English bull was men- 
tioned. Lord Camden put the following advertise- 
ment in the papers : — 

" Owing to the distress of the times Lord Camden will 
not shoot himself or any of his tenants before the 4th of 
October next. ' ' 

"Writing from Easton Grey, where they went after 
leaving Gatcombe Park, ]\Iiss Edgeworth said. Lady 
Catlierine Bisset, " when no one was seeing or hear- 
ing, laid her hand on my arm most affectionately, 


and looking up in my face said, 'Do you know, I 
have been half my life trying to be your good French 
governess. I love her." 

They went next to Bo wood, where they had the 
pleasure of hearing Lord and Lady Lansdowne's 
account of their foreign tour, from which they had 
just returned. After a visit to the Kings at Clifton, 
they went to Cirencester, the seat of Lord Bathurst, 
of whom Pope wrote, " Who plants like Bathurst ? " 
Maria admired the beautiful and celebrated woods, 
and noticed " the meeting of the pine avenues in a 
star " as " superb." At Cirencester, Lord Apsley 
lent her "Valoe," a book published in 1817, by a 
French governess dismissed by the Duchess of Beau- 
fort. This book "threw all high-bred London into 
confusion " when it appeared. There was " no wit, 
but tittle-tattle truths " in it. "You can't buy the 
book if you were to give your eyes for it : all bought 
up " by the Duchess of Beaufort. 

Among other places of interest visited as they 
passed from one hospitable mansion to another, they 
saw Salisbury and its lovely cathedral, Stonehenge ; 
Wilton House, with its magnificent collections of 
antiquities, and its priceless Vandykes ; and " Long- 
lord Castle, the strongest castle in the world." 

They went to Deepdene, to their friends the Hopes. 
Among the party gathered there, they met one of 
the authors of " Rejected Addresses," Mr. Smith ; 
wno told Fanny Edgeworth that he intended to 
put her sister "into the 'Rejected Addresses' in the 
character of an Irish laborer, but it was so flat he 
threw it aside." While at Deepdene Miss Edge- 

"THE riRATE" EEAD. 369 

worth wrote the preface to the sequel of " Frank," 
which was soon to be published. 

While at the Carrs' house at ITampstead, tlioy 
"read 'The Pirate,' or rather heard it read by JMr. 
Carr, who read admirably." 

" Wouderful genuis ! who can raise an interest even on 
the barren rocks of Zetland. Aladdin could only raise 
palaces at will ; but the mighty master, Scott, can trans- 
port us to the remote desert corner of the earth, ay, and 
keep us there, and make us wish to sta}^, among beings 
of his own creation." 

Maria enjoyed meeting Dr. Lushington there. Of 
" The Pirate," on finishing it, she writes : — 

" The characters of the two sisters are beautiful. The 
idea of Brenda not believing in supernatural agency, and 
yet being afraid, and Minna not being afraid, though she 
believes in Norma's power, is new and natural and ingen- 
ious. This Avas Joanna Baillie's idea. The picture of 
the sisters sleeping, and the lacing scene, is excellent ; and 
there are not only passages of beautiful, picturesque de- 
scription, but many more deep, philosophical reflections 
upon the human mind, and the causes of human happi- 
ness, than in any of his other works. The satire upon 
agriculturists, imported from one country to another, who 
set to work to improve the land and habits of the people 
without being acquainted with the circumstances of either, 
is excellent." 

They visited the INIiss Baillies again. Maria en- 
joyed them very much, saying, — 

"Most affectionate hospitality has been shown to us 
by these two excellent sisters. I part with Agnes and 


Joanna Baillie confirmed in my opinion, that the one is the 
most amiable literaiy woman I ever beheld, and the other, 
one of the best informed and most useful." 

She "rejoiced at Mr. Bushe's promotion," saying, 
"Mrs. Bushe sent to me, tlirougli Anne Nangle, a 
most kind message, alluding to our 'Patronage' 
chief justice by second-sight.'''' 

She was supposed to have drawn Mr. Bushe as 
the chief justice in " Patronage," and the character 
seemed so like him that it was recognized by those 
who knew him best. This was the meaning of Mrs. 
Bushe's message about his appointment by " second- 
sight : " for " Patronage " was published years before 
Mr. Bushe was made chief justice. During this win- 
ter, Miss Edgeworth met at Sir John Sebright's, 
Beechwood Park, — 

"Mrs. Somerville, — little, slightly made; fair hair; 
pink color ; small, gray, round, intelligent, smiling eyes ; 
very pleasing countenance ; remarkably soft voice ; strong, 
but well-bred Scotch accent ; timid, — not disqualifying 
timid, but naturally modest, — yet with a degree of self- 
possession throughout which prevents her being in the 
least awkward, and gives her all the advantage of her 
understanding, at the same time that it adds a prepos- 
sessing charm to her manner, and takes off all dread of 
her superior scientific learning. 

"Mrs. Somerville is the lady who La Place says is the 
only woman in England who understands his works. She 
draws beautifully ; and while her head is among the stars, 
her feet are firm upon the earth. I have this moment 
heard an anecdote which proves beyond a doubt — if any 
doubt remained — that Walter Scott is the author of the 


novels. He edited ' The Memoir of the Somervilles,' 
and in the manuscript copy are his marks of what was to 
be omitted ; and among these are what suggested to liim 
the idea of Lady JNIargaret, and the dis jeune which his 
Majesty did her the honor to take witli her, — continually 
referred to by an ancestor of Dr. Somerville." 

The Misses Edgeworth went thenco to Mardoaks, 
on a visit to Sir James and Lady Mackintosh. Of 
Sir James she writes, — 

"He is improved in the art of conversation since we 
knew him ; being engaged in great affairs with great men 
and great women has perfected him in the use and 
management of his wonderful natural powers, and vast, 
accumulated treasures of knowledge. His memory now 
appears to work less, his eloquence is more easy, his wit 
more brilliant, his anecdotes more happily introduced. 
Altogether, his conversation is even more delightful than 
formerly ; superior to Dumont in imagination, and almost 
equal in wit. In Dumont's mien and conversation, wit 
and reason are kept separate ; but in Mackintosh they are 
mixed, and he uses both in argument, knowing the full 
value and force of each. Never attempting to pass wit for 
logic, he forges each link of the chain of demonstration, 
and then sends the electric spark of wit through it. The 
French may well exclaim, in speaking of him, ' Quelle 
abon dance ! ' 

"He told us that at Berlin, just before a dinner at 
which were all the princes and ambassadors of Europe, 
Mme. de Stael, who had been invited to meet them, turn- 
ing to a picture of Bonaparte, then at the height of his 
power, addressed it with Voltaire's lines to Cupid : — 

' Qui que ce soit, vnici ton maltre ! 
II est, le flit, ou le doit etre ! ' " 


Her sisters thought Sir James far surpassed their 
expectations. The two persons Fanny Edgeworth 
most wished to see in England were Ricardo and 
Mackintosh, and they saw both in their own houses 
to great advantage. 

They met Lord Anglesey at Sir Thomas Law- 
rence's, where they went while with Lad}^ Elizabeth 
Whitbread, at Grove House, Kensington, to whom 
they went from Sir James Mackintosh's. She says 
of Lord Anglesey, — 

" He is no longer handsome, but a model for the ' nice 
conduct of a wooden leg.' It was within an inch of run- 
nuig through Walter Scott's picture, which was on the 
floor leaning on the wall ; but, by a skilful, sidelong ma- 
uffiuvre, he bowed out of its way. His gray hair looks 
better than his Majesty's flaxen wig — bad taste. 

" Saw at Sir Thomas Lawrence's studio his picture of 
the king in his coronation robes, the Pope, Walter Scott's 
too, etc." 

Miss Edgeworth met Mr. Ralston of Philadelphia. 

" His father and mother are grand, and, what is rather 
better, most benevolent people in Philadelphia. Intro- 
duced him to Dr. Holland, Mackintosh, and others. . . . 
I have had the greatest pleasure in Francis Beaufort's 
going with us to our delightful breakfasts at Mr. Ricar- 
do's : they enjoy each other's conversation so much. It 
has now become high fashion, with blue ladies, to talk 
political economy, and to make a great jabbering on the 
suljject ; while others who have more sense, like Mrs. 
Marcet, hold their tongues, and listen. A gentleman an- 
swered \ery well the other day, wlien asked if he would 


be of the famous Political-Economy Club, that he would 
whenever he could find two members of it that agree in 
any one point. IMeantime fine ladies require that their 
daughters' governesses sliould teach political economy. 
' Do you teach political economy ? ' — ' No ; but I can 
learn it.' — 'Oh, dear, no! If you don't teach it, you 
wont do for me.' " 

"Another style of governess is now the fashion, — the 
Ultra French. A lady governess of this party and one 
of the Orleans or Liheraux met, and came to high words ; 
till all was calmed by the timely display of a ball-dress 
trimmed with roses, alternately red and white, — ' garni- 
ture aux prejuges vaincus.' This should have been worn 
by those who formerly invented in the Revolution ' Bals 
aux victmies.' " 

During the months of March and February they 
were constantly in society: they had a charming 
breakfast at Mrs. Somerville's, and were often at 
Lansdowne House. They visited the House of 
Commons; and, as a change, Maria noted that she 
went to Newgate to hear Mrs. Fry, by appointment. 

' ' The private door opened at the sight of our tickets ; 
and the great doors, and the little doors, and the church 
doors, and doors of all sorts, were unbolted and unlocked, 
and on we went through dreary but clean passages, till 
we came to a room where rows of empty benches fronted 
us. A table on which lay a large Bible. Several ladies 
and gentlemen entered, and took then- seats on benches at 
either side of the table, in silence. 

"Enter Mrs. Fry in a drab-colored silk cloak, and 
plain, borderless Quaker cap ; a most benevolent coun- 
tenance, a Guido-Madonna face, calm, benign. ' I must 


make an inquiry, Is Maria Edgeworth here? and where? ' 
I went forward. She made us come and sit by her. 
Her first smile as she looked upon me, I can never 
forget. After the prisoners came in, — about thirty 
women, some under sentence of transportation for life, 
others for imprisonment, — she opened the Bible, and read 
in the most sweetly solemn, sedate voice I ever heard, 
slowly and distinctly, without any thing in the manner 
that would detract attention from the matter. Some- 
times she paused to explain, which she did with great 
judgment, addressing the convicts, ' ive have felt, ice are 
convinced.' They were very attentive, unaffectedly inter- 
ested, I thought, in all she said, and touched by her 
manner. Far from being disappointed with the sight 
of what Mrs. Fry has effected, I was delighted. We 
emerged again from the thick, dark, silent walls of New- 
gate to the bustling city." 

They visited Almack's. 

"Kind Mrs. Hope got tickets for us from Lady 
Gwydir and Lady Cowper. Observe that the present 
Duchess of Rutland, who had been a few months absent 
from town, and had offended the lady patronesses by 
not visiting them, could not, at her utmost need, get 
a ticket from any one of them, and was kept out, 
to her amazing mortification. This may give you some 
idea of the importance attached to a ticket to Almack's. 
The lady patronesses can only give tickets to those 
whom they personally knoiv. On that plea they avoided 
the Duchess of Rutland's application, — she had not 
visited them : they really did not know her Grace, etc. 
[Maria met] there many celebrated people, — the Mar- 
quis of Londonderry, who, by his own account, has been 
dying some time with impatience to be introduced to us ; 

A BALL. 375 

talked much of ' Castle Kackrent,' etc., and Ireland. Of 
cours-c I thought his manner and voice very agreeable. 
He is much fatter, nnd much less solemn, than when 
I saw him in the Irish House of Commons. He intro- 
duced us to jolly, fat Lady Londonderry, who was vastly 
gracious, and invited us to one of the four grand parties 
which she gives every season ; and it surprised me very 
much to perceive the rapidit}' with which a minister's 
family talks to a person spread through the room. 
Everybody I met afterward that night and the next day 
observed to me that they had seen Lord Londonderry talk- 
ing to me for a great while ! "We had a crowded party 
at Lady Londonderry's, but they had no elbows." 

She met at other parties the celebrities of the 
day, — her old friend Sir Humphry Davy (whom 
she calls the martyr of matrimony), jMrs. Siddons, 
Lydia White, all the scientific set of the Somer- 
villes. One amusing mention is made : — 

"Yesterday we breakfasted at Mrs. Somerville's ; and 
I put on for her a blue crape turban, to show her how 
Fanny's was put on, with which she had fallen in love." 

Sir Walter Scott anticipated a visit from INIiss 
Edgeworth with great delight. He wrote to Miss 
Joanna Baillie, in February : — 

. . . " I am delighted with the prospect of seeing Miss 
Edgeworth, and making her personal acquaintance. I 
expect her to be just what you describe, — a being totally 
void of affectation, and who, like one other of ray ac- 
quaintance, carries her literary reputation as freely and 
easily as the milkmaid in my country does the leglen, 


whicli she carries on her head, and walks as gracefully 
with it as a duchess. Some of the fair sex, and some of 
the foul sex too, carry their renown in London fashion, 
— on a yoke and a pair of pitchers. Tiie consequence is, 
that, besides poking frightfully, they are hitting every one 
on the shins with their buckets. Now this is all non- 
sense, too fantastic to be written to anybod}' but a person 
of good sense." 

Miss Edgeworth met old Sir William Pepys, who 
was a contemporary of Johnson, Reynolds, and 
Burke. He was then eighty-two years old, and 
had many things to tell her of that interesting set 
of men and women who formed the fashionable and 
literary society of London many years before. Mrs. 
Montague, who was an intimate friend of his, once 
whispered to him on seeing a very awkward man 
coming into the room, " There is a man who would 
give one of his hands to know what to do with the 

Miss Edgeworth said of the brilliancy, repartee, 
and social badinage of London, in her "Helen," 
"London wit is like gas, which lights at a touch, 
and at a touch can be extinguished ; " and she en- 
joyed the good talk, the easy manners, and the high- 
bred culture of the friends she found among the 
many sets which made ujd the great world of May- 
fair of her day. She remarked on this in a letter 
written during this visit : — 

"The great variety of society in London, and the 
solidity of the sense and information to be gathered from 
conversation, strike me as far superior to Parisian society. 


We know, I think, six different and totally independent 
sets, of seientific, literary, political, travelled, artist, and 
the fine fashionable of various shades ; and the different 
styles of conversation are very entertaining. Through 
Lvdia White we have become more acquainted with Mrs. 
Siddons than I ever expected to be. She gave us the 
history of her first acting of Lady Macbeth, and of her re- 
solving in the sleep-scene to lay down the candlestick, 
contrary to the precedent of Mrs. Pritchard and all the 
traditions, before she began to wash her hands and say, 
' Out, vile spot ! ' 

" Sheridan knocked violently at her door during the five 
minutes she had desired to have entirely to herself, to 
compose her spirits before the play began. He l)urst in, 
and prophesied that she would ruin herself forever if she 
persevered in this resolution to lay cloicn the candlestick. 
She persisted, however, in her determination, succeeded, 
was applauded, and Sheridan begged her pardon. She 
described well the awe she felt, and the power of excite- 
ment given to her by the sight of Burke, Fox, Sheridan, 
and Sir Joshua Reynolds in the pit. 

" She invited us to a private reading-party at her own 
house ; present, only her daughter (a very pretty young 
lady), a Mrs. Wilkinson, Mr. Burney, Dr. Holland, Lydia 
White, Mr. Harness, and ourselves. She read one of her 
finest parts, and that best suited to a private room, — 
Queen Katlierlne. She was dressed so as to do well for 
the two parts she was to perform this night, of gentle- 
woman and queen, — black velvet, with black velvet cap 
and feathers. She sat the whole tmie, and with a large 
Shakspeare before her ; as she knew the part of Kather- 
ine by heart, she seldom required the help of glasses, and 
she recited it incomparably well. The changes of her 
countenance we-re striking. From her first burst of indig- 


nation, when she objects to the cardinal as her judge, to 
her last expiring scene, was all so perfectly natural and 
so touching, we could give no applause but tears. Mrs. 
Siddons is beautiful even at this moment. Some who had 
seen her on the stage in this part assured me that it had a 
much greater effect upon them in a private room ; because 
they were near enough to see the change in her counte- 
nance, and to hear the pathos of her half-suppressed 
voice. Some one said, that, in the dying-scene, her very 
pillow seemed sick. 

" She spoke afterwards of the different parts which she 
had liked and disliked to act ; and, when she mentioned 
the characters and scenes she had found easy or difficult, 
it was cui-ious to observe that the feelings of the actress 
and the sentiments and reasons of the best critics meet. 
Whatever was not natural, or inconsistent with the main 
part of the character, she found she never could act well." 

After spending a very pleasant Easter at Deepdene 
with a delightful party at the Hopes, the sisters hear- 
ing of the death of their old friend. Miss Charlotte 
Sneyd, at Edgeworthstown, left Deepdene, feeling 
the gayety oppressive under these circumstances. 
They went for more quiet to their friend Lady Eliza- 
beth Whitbread's, at Kensington Gore. They then 
returned to their pleasant London lodgings in Hollis 
Street. On their return they found London very 
gay, and met many distinguished people. 

"Among the great variety of illustrious and foolish 
people we have seen pass in rapid panoramas before us, 
some remain forever fixed in the memory, and some few 
touch the heart. 


" INIr. Randolph, the American, very tall and thin, as if 
a stick, instead of shoulders, stretched out his coat ; his 
hair tied behind witli a black ribbon, but not pig-tailed, — it 
flows from the ribbon like old Steele's, with a curl at the 
end, mixed brown and gray ; his face wrinkled like a 
peach-stone, but all pliable, muscles moving with every 
sensation of a feeling soul and lively imagination ; quick 
dark eyes, with an indefinable expression of acquired 
habitual sedateness, in despite of nature ; his tone of 
voice mild and repressed, yet in this voice he speaks 
thoughts that breathe and words that burn. He is one of 
the most eloquent men I ever heard speak ; and there is a 
novelty in his view of things, and in his world of illusioua 
in art and nature, which is highly interesting." 

Visits at Frognel, Hampstead, Slough, Portsmouth, 
and Windsor followed. 

The following letter from Sir Walter Scott wilL 
explain itself. Miss Edgeworth was obliged to de- 
cline a pressing invitation from Scott to visit Scot- 
land and his family this year, but the next year we 
shall see her there. 

[To Miss Edgeworth, Edgeworthstown.] 

Abbotsford, 24th April, 1822. 
My dear Miss Edgeworth, — I am extremely sorry 
indeed that you cannot fulfil j^our kind intentions to be 
at Abbotsford this year. It is a great disappointment, 
and I am grieved to think it should have arisen from the 
loss of a valued relation. That is the worst part of life, 
when its earlier path is trod. If my limbs get stiff, my 
walks are made shorter, and my rides slower ; if my eyes 
fail me, I can use glasses and a large print ; if I get 
a little deaf, I comfort myself, that, except in a few in- 


stances, I shall be no great loser bj^ missing one full half 
of what is spoken : but I feel the loneliness of age when 
my companions and friends are taken from me. The sud- 
den death of both the Boswells, and the bloody end of the 
last, have given me great pain. You have never got half 
the praise "Vivian" ought to have procured 3'ou. The 
reason is, that the class from which the excellent portrait 
was drawn feel the resemblance too painfully to thank the 
author for it ; and I do not believe the common readers 
understand it in the least. I who, thank God ! am neither 
great man nor politician, have lived enough among them 
to recognize the truth and nature of the painting, and am 
no way implicated in the satire. ... I had arranged to 
stay at least a month after the 12th of May, in hopes of 
detaining you at Aljbotsford ; and I will not let you off 
under a month or two the next year. I shall have my 
house completed, my library replaced, my armory new fur- 
nished, my piper new clothed, and the time shall be July. 
... I know nothing I should wish you to see which has 
any particular chance of becoming invisible in the course 
of fourteen months, excepting my old bloodhound, poor 
fellow, on whom age now sits so heavily that he cannot 
follow me far from the house. I wished you to see him 
very much. He is of that noble breed which Ireland, as 
well as Scotland, once possessed, and which is now almost 
extinct in both countries. I have sometimes thought of 
the final cause of dogs having such short lives, and I am 
quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race ; for 
if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance 
of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to 
live double that time ? 

I don't propose being in London this 3'ear. . . . I do 
not like it. There is such a riding and driving, so much 
to see, so much to sa}^, — not to mention plover's eggs and 


ohampasjno, — that I always feci too much oxcitecl in 
Loiulou ; though it is good to rub off the rust too, some- 
times, and brings you up abreast with tlie world us it 

The INIisses Edgcwortli returned to Ireland the last 
of June, and Maria at once went to work on the 
sequel to " Harry and Lucy." She read the play of 
Sir Walter Scott, and found it very stupid. Tliis 
little play was written for a charitable purpose ; and 
Miss Edgeworth quotes, in remarking upon it. Mine, 
de Stael's saying, " Les bons intentions ne sont pour 
rien, dans les ouvrages d'esprit." 

In writing of the progress of " Harry and Lucy," 
she expressed her anxiety about its success ; saying 
to a friend, who urged her to do some larger work 
of the imagination, — 

" I assure you it is all I can do to satisfy myself tol- 
erably as I go on with this sequel to ' Harry and Lucy,* 
which engages all my attention. I am particularly anx- 
ious to finish that icell^ as it was my dear father's own 
and first book. As it must be more scientific than the 
other ' Early Lessons,' it is more difficult to me, who have 
so little knowledge of those subjects, and am obliged 
to go so warily, lest I should teach error, or pretend to 
teach what I do not know. ... I never could be easy 
writing any thing else for my own amusement till I have 
done this, which I know my father wished to have fin- 

jNIiss Edgeworth did think, about this time, of 
writing a tale called " The Travellers," which would 
probably have embodied some of her own experi- 


ences of travel ; but she never made a sketch of it : 
other thmgs proved more engrossing. During the 
winter of 1822-23 she made a visit at Black Cas- 
tle. Mrs. Ruxton was always an inspiration to her 
niece, encouraging and animating her in any chosen 
work. She it was, Maria said long after, who first 
suggested to her the plot of " Castle Rackrent," and 
then urged her to go on with it, when the fear of 
failure, and her natural timidity, discouraged her. 

Miss Edgeworth was delighted with "Peveril," 
though "there is too much of the dwarfs and the 

"Scott cannot deny himself one of these spirits in 
some shape or other. I hope that we shall find this elfin 
page, who has the power of shrinking or expanding, as it 
seems, to suit the occasion, is made really necessary to 
the story. I think the dwarf more allowable, and better 
drawn than the page, true to history, and consistent ; but 
Fiuella is sometimes haudsome enough to make duke and 
and king ready to be in love with her, and sometimes an 
odious little fury, clenching her hands, and to be lifted up 
or down stairs out of the hero's way. The indistinctness 
about her is not that indistinctness which belongs to the 
sublime, but that which arises from unsteadiness in the 
painter's hand when he sketched the figure. He touched 
and retouched at different times, without having, as it 
seems, a determined idea himself of what he would make 
her ; nor had he settled whether she should bring with 
her 'airs from heaven,' or blasts from that place which 
is never named to ears polite." 

In May, 1823, after long anticipation of such a 
visit, Maria, taking with her her sisters Harriet and 


Sophy, went to Scotland. Passing through Glasgow, 
they saw the Bannatynes, and were cordially re- 
ceived by them, after the lapse of twenty years which 
had gone since Maria was there with Mr. and Mrs. 
Edgeworth. They then went to Kinneil Castle, 
where Mr. and Mrs. Dugald Stewart then lived. 
After a few days pleasantly spent with their old 
friends, marred somewhat by the very poor health 
of Mr. Stewart, they left for Edinburgh, seeing on 
their way Linlithgow Palace. They arrived in Ed- 
inburgh, and found lodgings taken for them by the 
Alisons in Abercromby Place. 

Mr. Lockhart wrote in his life of Scott : — 

"Among the visitauts at Abbotsford in 1823 were Miss 
Edgeworth and her sisters, Harriet and Sophia. After 
spending a few weeks in Edinburgh, and making a tour 
into the Highlands, they gave a fortnight to Abbotsford." 

Scott wrote his first impressions of Maria, — 

[To D. Terry.] 

" Castle Street, June 18, 1823. 
" My marbles ! my marbles ! Oh ! what must now be done ? 
My drawing-room is finished off, but marbles there are none. 
My marbles ! my marbles ! I fancied them so fine, 
The marbles of Lord Elgin were but a joke to mine. 

" In fact, we are all on tiptoe now for the marbles and 
the chimney-grates, which being had and obtained, we 
will be less clamorous about other matters. I have very 
little news to send you : Miss Edgeworth is at present the 
great lioness of Edinburgh, and a very nice lioness. 
She is full of fun and spirit ; a little, slight figure, very 


active in her motions, very good-humored, and full of 

This Edinburgli visit was very agreeable to all 
the party. Maria had thought that city delightful 
twenty years before. Of course she found many 
changes. Her experience was not that of the ruler 
who found the city of wood, and left it stone ; but 
she saw a larger circle of society and more cosmopol- 
itan manners and customs. Some observers consider 
that the destinctive charm of the old city was lost 
at this time. Mrs. Fletcher, in her autobiography, 
speaks of the delightful society of Edinburgh : — 

" The men then most distinguished in social intercourse, 
alike by literary reputation and amiable manners in socie- 
ty, WaLer Scott, Mr. Jeffrey, Dr. Thomas Brown, Mr. 
Mackenzie, Mr. Thomas Thomson, Professor Playfair, 
Mr. Pillans, the Rev. Dr. Alison. A little before this 
time the forms of social meetings had somewhat changed 
from what they were when I knew Edinburgh first. Large 
dinner-parties were less frequent ; and supper-parties — 
I mean hot suppers — were generally discarded. In their 
place came large evening parties (sometimes larger than 
the rooms could conveniently hold), where card-playing 
generally gave place to music or conversation. The com- 
pany met at nine and parted at twelve o'clock ; tea and 
coffee were handed about at nine, and the guests sat down 
to some light refreshments later on in the evening. Peo- 
ple did not, in those parties, meet to eat, but to talk or 
listen. There you would see a group (chiefly of ladies) 
listening to the brilliant talk of Mr. Jeffrey ; in a differ- 
ent part of the room, perhaps, another circle, amongst 
whom were the pale-faced, reverential students, lending 


tlieir ears to the playful, imapjinative discussions of Dr. 
IJrown, while Professor Playfair would sometimes throw 
in an ingenious or quiet remark that gave fresh animation 
to the discourse. On other occasions old ]\Ir. Mackenzie 
would enliven the conversation with anecdotes of men 
and manners gone by." 

Lord Brougham says of Mrs. Fletcher herself, 
that, " with the utmost purity of life that can dignify 
and enhance female charms, she combined the inflexi- 
ble principles and deep political feeling of a Hutch- 
inson and a Roland." 

The changes noted by INIrs. Fletcher were of course 
inevitable : the fame of the city had caused the loss 
of just what she laments, by drawing to itself more 
and more people desirous of moving among the lit- 
erary and scientific society which it boasted as its 
peculiar charm. 

Mrs. Fletcher says of Miss Edgeworth, — 

" In the spring of 1823 Maria Edgeworth and her two 
younger sisters spent some time in Edinburgh. We met 
first at my dear friend and pastor's house, the Rev. Mr. 
Alison. It was the first time I had been introduced to 
the author c " ' Simple Susan ; ' though we were not un- 
known to each other, as she told me her brothers had 
often mentioned the agreeable society they met at our 
house when they were students at Edinburgh. Miss Edge- 
worth's personal appearance was not attractive ; but her 
vivacity, good-uumor, and cleverness in conversation, 
quite equalled my expectations. I should say she was 
more sprightly and brilliant than refined. She excelled 
in the raciness of Irish humor ; but the great defect of 
her manner, as it seemed to me, was an excess of compli- 


ment, or what in Ireland is called ' blarney ; ' and in one 
who had moved in the best circles, both as to manners 
and mind, it surprised me not a little. She repelled all 
approach to intimacy on my part, by the excess of her 
complimentary reception of me when we were first intro- 
duced to each other at Mr. Alison's. I never felt confi- 
dence in the reality of what she said afterwards. I do 
not know whether it was the absence of good taste in her, 
or that she supposed I was silly and vain enough to be 
flattered by such verbiage. It was the first time in my 
life I had met with such over-acted civility ; but I was 
glad of an oppoi'tunity of meeting a person whose genius 
and powers of mind had been exercised in benefiting the 
world as hers have been. I feel sure from the feelings of 
those friends who love her, because they knew her well, 
that had this been the case with me, I might also have 
been one of her friends : so that I only give my impres- 
sion as arising from that of society intercourse of a 
very superficial kind. Miss Edgeworth and her two very 
agreeable sisters were pleased to meet at our house Sir 
Robert and Lady Liston. They accompanied us some 
days after this to dine at Milburn Tower, the Listons' 
country-house, near Edinburgh. Miss Edgeworth's va- 
ried information and quick repartee appeared to great 
advantage in conversation with the polished ex-ambassador 
of Constantinople, who always reminded me of the coup- 
let, — 

* Polite, as all his life in courts had been, 
Yet good as he the world had never seen.' " 

Mrs. Fletcher judged Maria to be insincere ; for- 
getting that the warmth of her manner was perfectly 
natural, and her heart was warm and overflowing 
with benevolence. 


Years after this, Miss Edgcwortli put into the 
mouth of Lady Davenani in ''Helen," a description 
of the appearance of Sir Walter Scott. 

"'If you have seen Racburu's admirable pictures, or 
Chantrey's speaking bust,' repUed Lady Davenant, 'you 
liave as complete an idea of Sir Walter Scott as painting 
or sculpture can give. The first impression of his appear- 
ance and manner was surprising to me, I recollect, from 
its quiet, unpretending good-nature ; but scarcely had 
that impression been made, before I was struck with 
something of the chivalrous courtesy of other times. In 
his conversation you would have found all that is most 
delightful in all his works, — the combined talents and 
knowledge of the historian, novelist, antiquary, and poet. 
He recited poetry admirably, his whole face and figure 
kindling as he spoke ; but whether talking, reading, or 
reciting, he never tired me, even with admiring. And 
it is curious, that, in conversing with him, I frequently 
found myself forgetting that I was speaking to Sir Walter 
Scott ; and, what is even more extraordinary, forgetting 
that Sir Walter Scott was speaking to me, till I was 
awakened to the conviction by his saying something 
which no one else could have said. Altogether, he was 
certainly the most perfectly agreeable and perfectly amia- 
ble great man I ever knew.' " 



Account of the Meeting between Maria and Sir Walter Scott. — An 
Evening with him. — Edinburgh seen with Sir Walter. — The 
Lakes and the Highlands. — Abbotsford. — Happy Visit. — Return 
to Ireland. — Home Affairs. — Visitors. — The Mental Thermome- 
ter. —"Take for Granted." — Mr. Constable. — The Visit of Sir 
Walter Scott to Ireland. — His Stay at Edgeworthstown. — Their 
Trip to Killarny. 

Miss Edgeworth's first memorable meetinor with 


Sir Walter Scott was immediately after her arrival 
in Edinburgh. They had corresponded for 3^ears, 
but had no previous personal acquaintance. She had 
a note from him the evening they arrived. 

Dear Miss Edgeworth, — I have just received jouv 
kind note, just when I had persuaded myself it was most 
likely I should see you in person, or hear of your arrival. 
Mr. Alison writes to me that you are engaged to dine 
with him to-mori'ow ; which puts Roslin out of the ques- 
tion for that day, as it might keep you late. On Sunday 
I hope you will join our family party at five, and on Mon- 
day I have asked one or two of the Northern lights on 
purpose to meet you. I should be engrossing at any 
time, but we shall be more disposed to do so just now 
because on the 12th I am under the necessity of going 
to a different kingdom (only the kingdom of Fife) for a 
day or two. To-morrow, if it is quite agreeable, I will 

A CALL. 389 

wait upon j'ou about twelve, and hope you will permit nie 

to show you some of our improvements. I am always 

Most respectfully yours, 

Walter Scott. 
Edinburgh, Friday. 

Postscript. — Our old family coach is licensed to carry 
six, so take no care on that score. I enclose Mr. Ali- 
son's note ; truly sorry I could not accept the invitation it 

Postscript. — My wife insists I shall add that the 
Laird of Staffa promised to look in on us this evening at 
eight or nine, for the purpose of letting us hear one of 
his clansmen sing some Highland l)oat-songs, and the 
like ; and that if you will come, as the Irish should to 
the Scotch, without any ceremon}^ you will hear what is 
more curious than mellifluous. The man returns to the 
Isles to-morrow. There are no strangers with us, uo 
party ; none but all our own family, and two old friends. 
Moreover, all ourwomaukiud have been calling at Gibbs's 
Hotel : so if you are not really tired and late, j'ou have 
not even pride — the ladies' last defence — to oppose to 
this request. But, above all, do not fatigue yourself and 
the young ladies. No dressing to be thought of ! 

"Ten o'clock struck as I read the note. "We were 
tired, we were not fit to be seen ; but I thought it right to 
accept AValter Scott's cordial invitation, sent for a hack- 
ney coach, and, just as we were, without dressing, went. 
As the coach stopped, we saw the hall lighted, and the 
moment the door opened, heard the joyous sounds of 
loud singing. Three servants ' the Miss Edgeworths ' 
sounded from hall to landing-place ; and, as I paused for 
a moment in the ante-room, I heard the first sound of 
Walter Scott's voice, — ' The Miss Edgeworths come ! ' 


' ' The room was lighted by only one globe lamp. A 
circle were singing loud and beating time : all stopped in 
an instant ; and Sir Walter Scott, in the most cordial and 
courteous manner, stepped forward to welcome us : ' Miss 
Edgeworth, this is so kind of you ! ' 

" My first impression was, that he was neither so large 
nor so heavy in appearance as I had been led to expect by 
description, prints, bust, and picture. He is more lame 
than I expected, but not unwieldy. His countenance, 
even by the uncertain light in which I first saw it, pleased 
me much : benevolent and full of genius, without the 
slightest effort at expression, delightfully natural, as if 
he did not know he was Walter Scott, or the great un- 
known of the North, as if he only thought of making 
others happy. After naming to us ' Lady Scott, Staffa, 
my daughter Lockhart, Sophia, another daughter Anne, 
my son, my son-in-law Lockhart,' just in the broken cir- 
cle as they then stood, and showing me that only his 
family and two friends, Mr. Clarke and Mr. Sharpe, were 
present, he sat down for a moment on a low sofa ; and, 
on my saying, ' Do not let us interrupt what was going 
on,' he immediately rose and begged Staffa to bid his 
boatmen strike up again. ' Will you then join in the 
circle with us ? ' — he put the end of a silk handkerchief 
into my hand, and others into my sisters. They held by 
these handkerchiefs all in their circle again ; and the boat- 
man began to roar out a Gaelic song, to which they all 
stamped in time, and repeated a chorus, which, as far as I 
could hear, sounded like ' At am Vaun ! at am Vaun ! ' 
frequently repeated with prodigious enthusiasm. In an- 
other I could make out no intelligible sound but ' Bar ! 
bar! bar!' But the boatman's dark eyes were ready to 
start out of his head with rapture as he sang and stamped, 
and shook the handkerchief on each side, and the circle 


"Lady Scott is so exactly what I have seen her de- 
scribed, tliat it seemed as if we had seen her before. 
She must have been very handsome, — French, dark, 
large eyes, civil and good-natured. 

'' Supper at a round table, a family supper, with atten- 
tion to us just sufficient, and no more. The impression 
left on my mind this night was, that Walter Scott is one 
of the best-bred men I ever saw, with all the exquisite 
politeness which he knows so well how to describe, which 
is of no particular school or country, but which is of all 
countries, — the politeness which arises from good and 
quick sense and feeling, which seems to know by instinct 
the character of others, to see what will please, and put 
all his guests at their ease. As I sat beside him at sup- 
per I could not believe he was a stranger, and forgot he 
was a great man. Mr. Lockhart is very handsome, quite 
unlike his picture in ' Peter's Letters.' " 

When Sir Walter Scott made his visit to the 
Hebrides in 1810, he became acquainted with this 
gentleman. Sir Keginald Macdonald Stewart Seton 
of Staffa, Allantown, and Touch, and he described 
his sending his piper, a constant attendant, to wake 
a neighboring family for them. He wrote an enthu- 
siastic and interesting description of Staffa and 
lona, and tells how his way was beguiled by the 
boat-songs of the clan, in a letter to Joanna Baillie. 
In " The Lord of the Isles," he embalmed his memory 
of this time in verse : — 

" That wondrous dome, 
"NVTiere, as to shame the temples decked 
By skill of earthly architect, 
Nature herself it seemed would raise 
A minster to her Maker's praise." 


Miss Edgeworth saw historic Edinburgh under the 
auspices of Scott. 

"His conversation all the time better than anything 
we could see, full of apropos anecdote, historic, serious 
or comic, just as occasion called for it ; and all with a 
lonhomie and an ease that made us forget it was any 
trouble, even to his lameness, to mount flights of eternal 

She found in Sir Walter peculiar charms. 

"His strong affection for his early friends and his 
country gives a power and a charm to his conversation 
which cannot be given by the polish of the London world, 
and by the habit of literary conversation." 

After these delightful days in seeing Edinburgh, 
which she described as "the most magnificent as 
well as the most romantic of cities," they saw Roslin 
Castle and its exquisite chapel with Scott ; and then, 
being joined by their brother William, the party left 
for an excursion to the North, as William wished to 
see the great engineering works in the Highlands. 

They saw all the romantic beauties of Loch Ka- 
trine and the mountains. One lovely day's drive 
Miss Edgeworth remarked on : — 

"Mountains behind mountains, as far as the eye could 
reach, in every shade, from darkest to palest Indian ink, 
cloud-color; an ocean of mountains, with perpetually 
changing foreground of rocks, sometimes bare as they 
were born, sometimes wooded better than even the hand 
of mortal taste clothed a mountain iu reality or picture, 
with oak, aspen, and the beautiful pendent birch." 

SCOTT's impressions of MARIA. 393 

Miss Edfreworth was taken ill at Forres on this 
journey, but soon recovered, and was able to con- 
tinue this pleasaut trip. 

The following letter from Sir Walter Scott to 
INIiss Joanna Baillie will show his impressions of 
INliss Edge worth : — 

"Edinburgh, July 11, 1823. 

"TVe saw, you will readily suppose, a great deal of 
Miss Edgeworth, and two very nice girls, her younger 
sisters. It is scarcely possible to say more of this very 
remarkable person than that she not only completely 
answered, but exceeded, the expectations which I had 
formed. I am particularly pleased with the naivete and 
good-humored ardor of mind which she unites with such 
formidable powers of acute observation. In external 
appearance she is quite the fairy of our nursery-tale, — 
the Whippity Stourie, if you remember such a sprite, who 
came flying through the window to work all sorts of mar- 
vels. I will never believe but what she has a wand in her 
pocket, and pulls it out to conjure a little before she begins 
to draw those very striking pictures of manners. I am 
grieved to say, that, since they left Edinburgh on a tour to 
the Highlands, they have been detained at Forres, by an 
erysipelas breaking out on Miss Edgeworth's face. They 
have been twelve days there, and are now returning south- 
wards, as a letter from Harriet informs me. I hope soon 
to have them at Abbotsford, where we will take good care 
of them, and the invalid in particular. What would I 
give to have you and Mrs. Agnes to meet them, and what 
canty cracks we would set up about the days of lang- 
syne ! The increasing powers of steam, which, like you, 
I look on half-proud, half-sad, half-angry, and half- 
pleased, in doiug so much for the commercial world, 


promise something also for the sociable, and, like Prince 
Housseiu's tapestry, will, I think, one clay waft friends 
together in the course of a few hours, and, for aught we 
may be able to tell, bring Hampstead and Abbotsford 
within the distance of, — ' Will you dine with us quietly 
to-morrow?' I wish I could advance this happy abridg- 
ment of time and space, so as to make it serve my 
present wishes." 

On their return to Edinburgh, tliey passed a de- 
lightful day with the family of Lord Jeffrey, at 

On the 27th of July the Misses Edgeworth ar- 
rived at Abbotsford. Sir Walter was then at the 
height of his fame, and surrounded by a haj)py 
family circle. The gay walks, the evening conver- 
sation, the daily drives, made a bright and never-to- 
be-for£fotten visit. In these drives. Sir Walter was 
full of never-ceasing talk ; and wit and wisdom 
flowed from his boundless store. " He used to drive 
with his dog Spicer in his lap, and Lady Scott with 
her dog Ourisk in hers." Maria liked Lady Scott, 
while Lady Scott appreciated the kindly attention 
which Miss Edgeworth paid her. Too many of Sir 
Walter's visitors treated her with neglect or ridicule. 
Maria noted and admired the manner in which Lady 
Scott presided over a large establishment with judi- 
cious care and well-regulated hospitality. They saw, 
with Scott, Melrose Abbey, Ettrick Forest, and the 
ruins of Newark Hall, " where the ladies bent their 
necks of snow to hear the ' Lay of the last Minstrel.' " 

Maria, on seeing Sir Walter in his own home at 


Abl)otsforcl, was more tlian ever charmed with him. 
Tliere the ^strength and simplicity of his character 
showed itself. 

" I never saw an author loss of an author in his hal)its. 
This I early observed, but have been the more struck 
with it the longer I have been with him. He has, indeed, 
such variety of occupations, that he has not time to think 
of his own works : how he has time to write them, is the 
wonder. You would like him for his love of trees : a 
great part of his time out of doors is taken up in pruning 
his trees. I have, within this hour, heard a gentleman 
say to him, ' You have had a good deal of experience in 
planting, Sir Walter : do you advise much thinning, or 
not?' — 'I should advise much thiuning, but little at a 
time. If you thin much at a time, you let iu the wind, 
and hurt your trees. ' ' ' 

Long afterwards Miss Edgeworth tokl Mrs. S. C. 
Hall, that she i^roposed to Scott that they should 
visit Melrose Abbey by moonlight, as she recalled 
with pleasure his famous lines, — 

"If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, 
Go visit it by the pale moonlight." 

Scott at once assented, adding, "By all means, 
let us go, for I myself have never seen Melrose by 

Lockliart says, — 

"The next month — August, 1823 — was one of the 
happiest in Scott's life. Never did I see a brighter day 
at Abbotsford than that on which Miss Edgeworth first 
arrived there : never can I forget her look and accent 


when she was received by him at his ai'chway, and ex- 
claimed, ' Every thing about you is exactly what one 
ought to have had wit enough to dream ! ' The weather 
was beautiful, and the edifice and its appurtenances were 
all but complete ; and day after day, so long as she could 
remain, her host had always some new plan of gayety. 
One day there was fishing on the Cauldshiels Loch, and 
a dinner on the heathy bank. Another, the whole party 
feasted by Thomas the Rymer's waterfall in the glen ; 
and the stone on which Maria that day sat was ever 
afterwards called ' PMgeworth's stone.' A third day we 
had to go farther a-field. He must needs show her, not 
Newark only, but all the upper scenery of the Yarrow, 
where ' fair hangs the apple frae the rock ; ' and the 
baskets were unpacked about sunset, beside the ruined 
chapel overhanging St. Mary's Loch. And he had scram- 
bled to gather bluebells and heath-flowers, with which all 
the young ladies must twine their hair ; and they sang, 
and he recited, until it was time to go home, beneath the 
softest of harvest moons. Thus a fortnight was passed, 
and the vision closed." 

During the visit to Abbotsford in 1823, commemo- 
rated in a pictorial group ^ in which he is included, 
Mr. Constable had the honor of meeting Miss Edge- 
worth; and the impression he made on her must 
have been favorable, for she begged him to commu- 
nicate with her London publisher regarding plans he 
had suggested for promoting the sale of her works. 
Miss Edgeworth writes as follows, while on her 
homeward route : — 

1 By Mr. William Stewart Watson. 


[Miss Edsewortb to Mr. Constable.] 

Glasgow, Aug. 13, 1823. 

Dear Sir, — You have gratified me much by your 
polite atteution to my sisters. The present of the proof- 
engraviug you have sent me is invaluable : the very thing 
for which I had wished, and had despaired of obtain- 

You talked of sending me a prospectus of j'our new 
encyclopedia. I wish you could send it to me while 
I am in Glasgow. I shall be here till INIonday or Tuesday 
next. If you have not been able to procure the review of 
books for young people, do not trouble yourself more 
about it ; because I can get it from Hunter, to whom I am 
going to write. I wish you would write to him the note 
of advice you proposed. Send it to me, and I will enclose 
it in my own letter. 

I rejoice that we had the pleasure of meeting you at 
Abbotsford, and I am glad to owe this among the num- 
berless other obligations I have to the Great Knoicn. 

Many may be, or may seem, great while unknown ; but 
few like him, appear greater the more they are known. 
I am, dear sir, yom- obliged, 

Makia Edgeworth. 

After leaving the pleasant home of Scott, they 
went to Glasgow to then- friends the Bannatynes, and 
by easy stages returned to Ireland by Port Patrick. 
They made some visits on their homeward way, and 
arrived at Edgeworthstown the 3d of September. 
Sir Walter wrote Miss Edgeworth after this visit, 
which made them very intimate friends for life. The 
following was his first letter : — 


Abbotsford, Sept. 22, 1823. 

My dear Miss Edgeworth, — Miss Harriet had the 
goodness to give me an account of your safe arrival in the 
Green Isle, of which I was, sooth to sa}^ extremely glad ; 
for I had my own private apprehensions that yoiu- very 
disagreeable disorder might return while you were among 
strangers, and in our rugged climate. I now conclude 
you are settled quietly at home, and looking back on rec- 
ollections of mountains and valleys, and pipes and clans 
and cousins, and masons and carpenters and puppy-dogs, 
and all the confusion of Abbotsford, as one does on the 
recollections of a dream. We shall not easily forget 
the vision of having seen you and om- two young friends, 
and your kind indulgence for all our humors, sober and 
fantastic, rough or smooth. Mamma writes to make her 
own acknowledgments for your very kind attention about 
the cobweb stockings, which reached us under the omnipo- 
tent frank of Crocker, who, lilve a true Irish heart, never 
scruples stretching his powers a little to serve a friend. 

"We are all here much as you left us, only in possession 
of our drawing-room, and glorious with our gas-lights, 
which as yet have only involved us once in total dark- 
ness, once in a temporary eclipse. In both cases the 
remedy was easy, and the cause obvious ; and if the gas 
has no greater objections than I have yet seen or can antici- 
pate, it is soon like to put wax and mutton-suet entirely 
out of fashion. I have recovered, by great accident, 
another verse or two of Miss Sophia's beautiful Irish air : 
it is only curious as hinting at the cause of the poor 
damsel-of-the-red-petticoat's deep dolour : — 

" I went to the mill, but the miller was gone : 
I sat me down and cried ochone, 
To think on the days that are past and gone, 
Of Dickie Macphalion that's slain. 
Shool, shool, etc. 

scott's letter. 399 

I sold my rock, I sold my reel, 
And sae hae I my spinning-wheel, — 
And all to buy a cap of steel 
For Dickie Macphaliou that's slaui. 
Shool, shool, etc." 

But who was Dickie Macphalion for whom this lament 
was composed? Who was the Pharaoh for whom the 
pyramid was raised? The questions are equally du- 
bious and equally important ; but as the one, we may 
reasonably suppose, was a king of Egypt, so I think we 
may guess the other to have been a captain of Rapparees, 
since the ladies, God bless them, honor with the deepest 
of their lamentation, gallants who live wildly, die bravely, 
and scorn to survive until they become old and not worth 
weeping for. 80 much for Dickie Macphalion, who, I 
dare say, was in his day, "a proper young man." We 
have had Sir Humphry Davy here for a day or two — 
very pleasant and instructive. 

I wish Miss Harriet would dream no more ominous 
visions about Spicer. The poor thing has been very ill of 
that fatal disorder proper to the canine race, called, par 
excellence, the distemper. I have prescribed for her, as 
who should say thus you would doctor a dog ; and I hope 
to bring her through, as she is a very affectionate little 
creature, and of a fine race. She has still an odd wheez- 
ing, however, which makes me rather doubtful of success. 
The Lockharts are both well, and at present our lodg- 
ers, together with John Hugh, or, as he calls himself, 
Donichue, which sounds like one of your old Irish kings. 
They all join in every thing kind and affectionate to you 
and the young ladies, and best compliments to your 
brother. Believe me ever, dear Miss Edgeworth, yom-s, 
with the greatest truth and respect, 

Walter Scott. 


One can -well imagine what an enjoj^ment this 
journey to Scotland was to Miss Edgeworth. A 
delightful episode in a life not uneventful or unin- 
teresting. After her return, she described herself 
as doing "nothing but idling and reading, and pav- 
ing a gutter and yard to Honora's pig-sty and school - 
house : " tliis seems a truly Irish combination of the 
" pig-sty and schoolhouse." 

While Miss Edgeworth was at Abbotsford, she 
related the story of Carabou, and the imposture 
practised by her ; and Sir Walter used this incident 
m his " St. Ronan's Well." 

In January of the year 1824 Miss Edgeworth 
made a visit to her friends at Pakenham Hall. In 
March of this year her sister Sophy married their 
cousin, Capt. Barry Fox. 

Scott wrote a letter which contained the following 
allusion to this event, Maria having announced the 
marriage of her sister : — 

"I do not delay a moment to send my warmest and 
best congratulations upon the very happy event which is 
about to take place in your family, and to assure you that 
you do me but common justice in supposing that I take 
the warmest interest in whatever concerns my young 
friends. All Abbotsford to an acre of Poyais, that she 
will make an excellent wife ; and most truly happy am I 
to think that she has such an admirable prospect of mat- 
rimonial happiness, although at the expense of thwarting 
the maxim, and showing that ' the course of true love 
sometimes may run smooth.' It will make a pretty vista, 
as I hope and trust, for you, my good friend, to look 
forwards with an increase of interest to futurity. Lady 


Scott, Anno, and Sophia, send their sincere and hearty 
coni>:ratuhitions upon this joyful occasion. I hojw to hear 
her siug *■ The I'ettiooat of Red ' some day in her own 
house. I should be apt to pity you a little amid all your 
iKippiness, if 3'ou had not my friend Miss Harriet, besides 
other young companions, whose merits are only known to 
me by report, to prevent your feeling, so much as you 
would otherwise, the blank which this event must occasion 
in your domestic society. . . . There was great propriety 
in Miss Harriet's dream, after all ; for if ever a dog 
needed six legs, poor Spicer certainly requires a pair of 
additional supporters. She is now following me a little, 
though the duty of body-guard has devolved for the pres- 
ent on a cousin of hers, — a fierce game devil that goes 
at every thing, and has cowed Ourisque's courage in a 
most extraordinary degree, to Lady Scott's great vexa- 
tion. Here is a tale of dogs ^ and dreams and former daj's ! 
But the only pleasure in writing is to write whatever comes 
readiest to the pen. My wife and Anne send kindest 
compliments of congratulation, as also Charles, who has 
come down to spend four or five months with us : he is 
just entered at Brazen Nose — on fire to be a scholar of 
classical renown, and studying (I hope the humor will last) 
like a very dragon. 

" Always, my dear Miss Edgeworth, with best love to 
the bride and to dear Harriet, 

" Very much yours, 

"Walter Scott." 

While Miss Edgeworth was making a visit at 
Black Castle in July of this year, the news arrived 

1 Sir Walter Scott raised one dog of his famous Dandie Dinmont 
breed for ^liss Edgeworth; but it died, and then came his trouble 
and ill-health, and he did not attempt to give her a dog. 


of Mrs. Beddoes's death in Florence. Miss Edge- 
worth was very much attached to her ; and once, 
when some one remarked that they looked much 
like each other, she expressed pleasure at the thought. 
There were many visitors during the summer ; and 
among them may be named Mr. Hunter the pub- 
lisher, Mr. Butler, and a Mr. Hamilton, whom Maria 
called "an Admirable Crichton of eighteen." It 
was in December of this year that Maria received a 
superb portfolio from a Jewish lady, a Miss Yates 
of Liverpool, with the name "Harrington" on it, — 
a remembrance of her regard for the Jews, in writing 
that tale which had for its hero a good Jew. 

In January of 1825 Miss Edgeworth had a request 
fi'om a foreigner settled in London, a publisher by 
the name of Lupton Relfe, that she would look over 
her portfolio for something for an Annual he was 
preparing. She recollected " The Mental Thermom- 
eter," 1 which had never been printed, except in an 
Irish farmers' journal not known in England. 

"So [she adds] I rooted in the garret uuder pyra- 
mids of old newspapers, with my mother's prognostica- 
tions that I never should find it, and loud prophecies that 
I should catch my death ; which I did not : but, dirty 
and dusty and cobwebby, I came forth, after two hours' 
grovelUng, with my object in my hand ! Cut it out, added 
a few lines of new end to, and packed it off to Lupton 
Relfe ; telling him it was an old thing written when I was 
sixteen. Weeks elapsed, and I heard no more ; when 
there came a letter, exuberant in gratitude, and sending 

' See Apj)eudix. 


a parcel containing six copies of the new Memorandum 
Book, and a most l)eautiful twelfth edition of 'Scott's 
Poetical Works,' bound in the most elegant manner, 
and with most beautifully engraved frontispieces and 
vignettes, and a five-pound note. I was quite ashamed ; 
but I have done all I could for him by giving tlie 
' Friendship's Offering ' to all the fine people I could 
think of. The set of ' Scott's Works ' made a nice 
New- Year's gift for Harriet. She had seen this edition 
in Edinburgh, and particularly wished for it. Made a 
present of the five pounds to some one else. I might 
have looked over my portfolio till doomsday, as I have not 
an unpublished scrap, except ' Take for Granted.' " 

This " Take for Granted " Miss Edgeworth made 
many notes for, but never finished it. This remark 
of hers would seem to clearly disprove the statement 
sometimes made, that she left many manuscripts, as 
she was certainly at the height of her powers at this 
time; and if she had no unpublished writings in 
1825, it is not probable that she left any manuscripts 
of importance. "Take for Granted" never quite 
pleased her, and she worked many years at it ; but 
it reached no more definite shape than notes. In 
writing late at night at this time, she playfully adds, 
as she felt guilty on hearing the carriage, with Mrs. 
Edgeworth, rolling up to the door, — 

"Yours affectionately, in all the haste of guilt con- 
science-stricken, that is, found out. No I All safe, all 
innocent, because not found out. Finis. 

" By the author of ' Moral Tales ' and ' Practical Edu- 
cation.' " 


[Miss Edgeworth to Mr. Constable.] 

Edgeworthstown, Nov. 18, 1824. 

Dear Sir, — I have received from some unknown 
friend a perfect copy of "Reginald Dalton," for wliich 
I suspect that I am obliged to you. If so, accept my 
thanks. I assure you that when I asked for a few pages, 
I did not mean to beg a book. The copy which 1 first 
possessed I shall keep as a curiosity, on which future 
commentators in future ages may write ingeniously on the 
inexhaustible subject of the Scotch novels. 

"Matthew Wald " has great power. I am sorry his 
story came to such a horrid, and unnecessarily and uncon- 
scionably horrid, a conclusion. 

I am delighted with ' ' Redgauntlet. ' ' The author has 
made more of rebellion, and more of the Pre — Che — 
than any man alive or dead ever did. 

I, in common with thousands and tens of thousands, 
am impatient for the next production of that exhaustless 
genius. Christmas, I hope, will find us all happily at 
"The Crusades." 

I am, dear sir, with many thanks for your obliging 

Youi's sincerely, 

Maria Edgeworth. 

Mr. Constable wrote, begging Miss Edgeworth's 
co-operation in the scheme for his encyclopsedia. 
She replied as follows : — 

Edgeworthstown, Jan. 19, 1825. 
Dear Sir, — I have delaj'cd answering your obliging 
letter, that I might get an opinion from a friend in Eng- 
land upon your plan ; which, as he is a man of science 
and high reputation in the scientific world, must be worth 


much more to you than mine can be, ignorant as I am of 
science or of the requisites, for such an encyclopredia as 
you propose to form. As far as 1 can judge, I agree 
completely with my friend's opinion, which 1 enclose to 
you. 1 think for youth you should not give treatises on 
each subject ; indeed, for all people there is an encyclo- 
panlia too much or too little. Those who want to study 
deeply must go through the regular means of study, in 
the complete treatises published in different works on the 
subjects ; but in referring to an encyclopn3dic dictionary, 
3'oung people especially want immediate, precise informa- 
tion of the meaning of certain terms, or of the means of 
accomplishing certain purposes. It should be, therefore, 
more practical than theoretic. If I were you, in the first 
place I would weed out all the heads in your present pro- 
spectus which would be general treatises, and class the 
others into what are essential, necessary in the next 
degree, and so on. AVhen you have thus got rid of what 
is obviously superfluous for your purpose, compress again 
and again, till you get your design into the smallest com- 
pass that will hold the needful : portion this out to the 
most skilful hands, make it worth their while ; and then 
you secure the solid reputation of your book by their 
work, and its celebrity by their names. When this is 
done, you may, if you want bulk, add what other articles 
you please. If you make, as my friend advises, your 
arrangement alphabetical, you will have no trouble. 

For mercy's sake, make your writers say all they have 
to say under one good head, and not refer the wretched 
readers from one letter to another, till their patience and 
desire for information be absolutely worn out, — ArcJi, 
see Building; Building, see Masonry; Masonry, see Ar- 
chitecture, Civil, Gothic, etc. ; and then a whole treatise 
on each before you can get the simple meaning of an 
arch, or how to construct one. 


You told me in your letter that you enclosed some list 
of articles which you particularly wished from me. No 
such list came in your letter. No matter, for I have as 
much on my hands at present as I can possibly do till 
Easter : therefore I would not undertake ayiy thing for 
you till after that time.^ 

I am highly flattered by the compliment you intended 
me in putting an engraving of my portrait in this work. 
But, independently of the reason which could induce me 
to decline it for your sake as quite unsuited to your work, 
it is impossible I should give it you, as I have refused my 
portrait to my nearest relations. I truly think that both 
the public and I shall be better off in consequence of this 
my determination. 

I see my father's name in your prospectus. I certainly 
do not wish that to be struck out. I think I see your 
kind intentions to have justice done to his memory, and 
to his 2)^'ofessional education. I thank you : you could 
not gratify me more. Command me in any assistance I 
am able to give as soon as my having accomplished my 
present engagements gives me time at my own disposal. 

My friend Mr. Butler was grateful for your attentions 
to him, and for the fine engraving of Sir Walter Scott 
which you gave him. If you can, pray send me "The 
Crusaders ' ' before they are published. . . . 

If a pretty, elegant, lady's memorandum-book, whose 
title is, I think, " Friendship's Offering, or Lady's Re- 
membrancer," should come from London to Edinburgh, 
pray give it a good puff, and a good push forward. The 
publisher, a man of a strange name, Lupton Relfe, is 
unknown to me ; but he besought me to give him a help- 

1 TJie s^lbjects which Mr. Constable desired that Miss Edgeworth 
should contribute were, Female Education; Etiquette; Recreations, 
Rational and Useful, for the Female Sex. 


ing hand, and told me he had expended fifteen hundred 
pounds in getting up this pretty trille. I sent him a 
few pages containing an old thermometer, a Mental Ther- 
mometer^ constructed when I was sixteen. lie sent me 
in return a hundred thousand times more than it was 
worth, — a beautiful copy of Scott's poetical works, your 
duodecimo edition, with the frontispiece portrait of Sir 
Walter, and beautiful little vignettes. 

I feel as if I had taken bounty-money, and enlisted to 
serve him ; and I really have no power to do so : pray 
help me, for you can. I sent his pocket-book to Lady 
Scott, I think by Mr. Butler, but have never heard of 
her receiving it. I am, dear sir, yours sincerely, 

Maria Edgewoktii. 

This was a very favorite project of Constable's; 
and Mr. Jeffrey alluded to a plan of one proposed 
by him as early as 1804, in a letter he vs^as writing 
to Francis Horner. The business crisis in Mr. Con- 
stable's affair brought the plan to an end. 

]\Iiss Edgeworth heard of her old friend Mrs. 
Barbauld's death in March, 1825, while she was at 
Black Castle, and wrote as follows: — 

"You have probably seen in the papers the death of 
our admirable friend, Mrs. Barbauld. I have copied for 
3'ou her last letter to me, and some beautiful lines written 
in her eightieth year. There is a melancholy elegance 
and force of thought in both. P^legance and strength — 
qualities rarely uniting without injury to each other — • 
combined most perfectly in her style ; and this rare com- 
bination, added to their classical purity, forms perhaps 
the distinguishing characteristics of her writings. Eng- 
land has lost a great writer, and we a most sincere friend." 


There is a nice discrimination and analysis of char- 
acter shown in these words about Mrs. Barbauld. 

" In reading one of the most paltry quartos I ever 
opened," said Miss Edgeworth at this time, "'The 
Life of Murphy,' a perfect sample of the art of 
book-making, I found two excellent things in proof 
of my system that there is no book so worthless but 
we may find some good in it." 

She was surprised to see herself mentioned at 
length, and a discussion of her writings, in the re- 
view of the novel " Tremaine," in the new " Monthly 
Magazine " for Ma}^ 1825. She said she was in this 
review "like Mahomet's coffin, between heaven and 

During Moore's visit to Ireland in this year, he 
mentions driving with Sir Philip Crampton, in his 
gig, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, and adds, — 

"He gave me some pretty verses of his own to Miss 
Edgeworth, with Sh "Walter Scott's pen ; showed me 
some verses of hers to himself, strongly laudatory, but 
very bad." 

Miss Edgeworth wrote the following letter to Con- 
stable in behalf of a inotegee : — 

[Miss Edgeworth to Mr. Constable. ] 

Edgeworthstown, March 12, 1825. 
Sir, — Some very interesting letters, from a lady who 
has been for tliese last four years resident in Upper 
Canada, have been lately put into my hands : I have 
advised their pubUcatiou, and have obtained permission 
that they should be published. I know the lady by whom 


thoy aro written. I each letter as it came from 
C;m:ul;i to lier friends here, and can voucli for their 
aulhcnl icily, and for tlie letters not having been written 
with any view to pulilication. On this their merit in a 
great measure depends. They contain a view never yet 
laid before the public, of the details and progress of an 
Irish settler's life in Canada. They have interested every- 
body who has seen them, by their perfect truth and sim- 
plicity, and from their letting us behind the scenes, and 
telling what no one writing a book for the public would 
think of telling. The lady was bred up in the first cir- 
cle of society, is highly accomplished, and was, when she 
married, apparently successor to a very considerable for- 
tune. The roguery of some of her relatives, and the 
misfortunes of others, suddenly reduced her husband 
from opulence to the necessity of emigrating to America 
to settle on a grant of crown-land in Canada. From the 
moment she followed her husband's fallen fortunes thither, 
she made herself to her changed state ; and such has been 
her fortitude, and such her exertions, as have interested 
every creature that knows them, in her favor. These let- 
ters have made them known to many who were strangers 
to her ; and, judging by the impression they have made 
on persons of different tastes, I cannot hesitate about 
their publication. Her name must not be told. But I 
will willingly put my name to a preface vouching their 
authenticity. My object, I plainly tell you, is to assist 
in making up for her and for her husband and children 
a sum which may enable them to visit, once again in their 
lives, their native country for a few weeks. 

I do not think the letters have body or solidity enough 
to stand as a separate publication ; but I think, and am 
confident, that they have spirit and soul enough to inter- 
est much in a periodical publication. I have a periodical 


publication in London open to me, which I know will 
gladly accept them on my recommendation ; but I prefer 
offering them to you. With as much frankness as I write 
to you, answer me, whether from this account you are 
disposed to publish them in your " Edinburgh Journal." 
I have not yet all the letters before me, therefore I cannot 
tell you how much they will altogether make in print. 
Tell me the number of letters in your sheet of journal, 
and I will count them off. Let me also know what you 
can afford to give per sheet. The fairest way would be, 
I think, to try one sheet. 

Send your answer to Dr. Brewster's, directed to me ; 
and he will enclose it in a packet, which will come free 
to me through Lord Rosse's frank. 

I am, yours sincerely, 

Maria Edgeworth. 

In answer to him, after a letter containing a liberal 
offer for the letters, she replied, expressing herself 
very honestly as to the merits of the letters on fur- 
ther examination, — 

[To Mr. Constable. 1 

Edgeworthstown, April 14, 1825. 
Dear Sir, — I am much obliged by your letter and lib- 
eral conduct. I feel obliged to you (independently of all 
that may be gratifying to myself in this transaction) for 
giving me the pleasure of seeing such frank and generous 
dealing. In fact, I am more obliged than if I profited by 
your offer for my friend or for myself. But the fact is, 
that upon looking over these letters again, I find so much 
of the interest depends upon 2>ersonal narrative and details 
which cannot be laid before the public, that after all the 
garbling and suppression of names and so forth, I appre- 


henrl I could not honostly insure to 3'ou their sueocss ; 
and, without feeling internally convineed at least of their 
deserving literary success, I could not recommend them 
to )'ou, trusting, as I see you so handsomely do, to my 
pure and sole recommendation. 

Besides this, another qualm of conscience has seized 
me : an inconsistency stares me in the face ! A literary 
friend has just ai)plied to me for some of the letters of 
a lately deceased celebrated person, which were addressed 
to me. I have (since I wrote to you) refused them ; de- 
claring it to be my principle never to give up private letters 
to publication, expressing my belief that this publishing 
of letters tends to weaken and destroy private confidence. 

"Wliile I was writing this letter, suddenly it flashed 
across my mind, that I could not afterwards, with any 
consistency, put my name to a preface to the Canada let- 
ters I was recommending to you ; for, though the lady 
and her friends consent to the publication, yet still what 
becomes of my principle about the tendency to destroy 
private confidence, which I believe would be the result of 
this practice ? 

Let me repeat my thanks to you for your frank and 
gentlemanlike conduct, and wish you all the success and 
happiness such conduct deserves. 

I am, with due esteem, your obliged, 

Maria Edge worth. 

In August of 1825 Edgeworthstown received the 
great "known," as he was often called in later years. 
Sir Walter Scott arrived at the home of Miss Edsfe- 
worth, accompanied b}' his daughter and the surgeon- 
general, Sir Philip Crampton, the friend of whom 
Moore so often writes. Capt. and Mrs. Scott and 


Mr. Lockhart were detained in Dublin, and did not 
reach Edgeworthstown till some hours after the rest 
of the party. 

This was a very happy event in Miss Edge worth's 
life, and a proud moment for Ireland, when the great- 
est writer of the sister isle visited her shores; full 
of eagerness to study the habits of the people, see 
the picturesque spots and the places of note in the 
country, made famous by the pen of one whom he 
loved and respected. 

Lockhart wrote of this journey : — 

"On the 1st of August we proceeded from Dublhi to 
Edgeworthstown, tlie party being now re-enforced by Capt. 
and Mrs. Scott, and also by the delightful addition of the 
surgeon-general,^ who had long been an intimate friend of 
the Edgeworth family, and equally gratified both the nov- 
elists by breaking the toils of his great practice to witness 
their meeting on his native soil. A happy meeting it was. 
We remained there for several days, making excursions 
to Loch Oel and other scenes of interest in Longford and 
the adjoining counties ; the gentry everywhere exerting 
themselves with true Irish zeal to signalize their affec- 
tionate pride in their illustrious countrywoman, and their 
appreciation of her guest : while her brother, Mr. Lovell 
Edgeworth, had his classical mansion filled every even- 
ing with a succession of distinguished friends, the Mite 
of Ireland. Here, above all, we had the opportunity of 
seeing in what universal respect and comfort a gentle- 
man's family may live in that country, and in far from 
its most favored district, provided only they live there 
habitually, and do their duty as the friends and guard- 

1 Cramptou. 

SCOTT'S visit to IRELAND. 413 

dians of those among whom rrovidcnce has appointed 
their proper pUxce. Here we found neither mud liovels 
nor naked peasantry, but snug cottages and smiling faces 
all about. Here there was a very large school in the Vil- 
lage, of which masters and pupils were, in nearly equal 
proportion, Protestants and Roman Catholics ; the Trotest- 
ant squire himself making it a regular part of his daily 
business to visit the scene of their operations, and 
strengthen autliority and enforce discipline by his per- 
sonal superintendence. Here, too, we pleased ourselves 
with recognizing some of the sweetest features in Gold- 
smith's picture of 

* Sweet Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain.' 

. . . " It may well be imagined with what lively interest 
Sir Walter surveyed the scenery with which so many of 
the proudest recollections of Ireland must ever be asso- 
ciated, and how curiously he studied the rural manners it 
presented to him, in the hope (not disappointed) of being 
able to trace some of his friend's bright creations to their 
first hints and germs. On the delight with which he con- 
templated her position in the midst of her own large and 
happy domestic circle, I need say still less. The reader 
is aware by this time how deeply he condemned and pitied 
the conduct and fate of those, who, gifted with pre-emi- 
nent talents for the instruction and entertainment of their 
species at large, fancy themselves entitled to neglect those 
every-day duties and charities of life, from the mere shad- 
owing of which in imaginary pictures the genius of poetry 
and romance has always reaped its highest and purest, 
perhaps its only true and immortal honors. In INIaria he 
hailed a sister-spirit ; one who, at the summit of literar^^ 
fame, took the same modest, just, and, let me add, CJiris- 
tiau view of the relative importance of the feelings, the 


obligations, and the hopes, in which we are all equally par- 
takers, and those talents and accomplishments which may 
seem, to vain and short-sighted eyes, sufficient to consti- 
tute their possessors into an order and species apart from 
the rest of their kind. Such fantastic conceits found no 
shelter with either of these powerful minds. I was then a 
young man ; and I cannot forget how much I was struck at 
the time by some words that fell from one of them, when, 
in the course of a walk in the park at Edgeworthstown, I 
happened to use some phrase which conveyed (though not 
perhaps meant to do so) the impression that I suspected 
poets and novelists of being a good deal accustomed to 
look at life and the world only as materials for art. A 
soft and pensive shade came over Scott's face as he said, 
' I fear you have some very young ideas in your head. 
Are you not too apt to measure things by some reference 
to literature, to disbelieve that anybody can be worth 
much care, who has no knowledge of that sort of thing, 
or taste for it ? God help us ! what a poor world this 
would be if that were the true doctrine ! I have read 
books enough, and observed and conversed with enough 
of eminent and splendidly cultivated minds, too, in my 
time ; but I assure you I have heard higher sentiments 
from the lips of poor, uneducated men and women, when 
exerting the spirit of severe, yet gentle heroism under 
difficulties and afflictions, or speaking their simple thoughts 
as to circumstances in the lot of friends and neighbors, 
than I ever yet met with out of the pages of the Bible. 
We shall never learn to feel and respect our real calling 
and destiny, unless we have taught ourselves to consider 
every thing as moonshine, compared with the education 
of the heart.' Maria did not listen to this without some 
water in her eyes, — her tears are always ready when any 
generous string is touched (for, as Pope says, ' The finest 

SCOTT's visit to IRELAND. 415 

minds, like the finest metals, dissolve the easiest'), — 
but she brushed them gayly aside, and said, ' You sec how 
it is. Dean Swift said he had written his books in order 
that people might learn to treat him like a great lord. 
Sir Walter writes his in order that he may be able to 
treat his people as a great lord ought to do.' 

"Miss Edgeworth, her sister Harriet, and her brother 
"William, were easily persuaded to join our party for the 
rest of our Irish travels. We had lingered a week at 
Edgeworthstown, and were now anxious to make the best 
of our way towards the Lakes of Killarney. But posting 
was not to be very rapidly accomplished in those regions 
by so large a company as had now collectetl ; and we were 
more agreably delayed by the hospitalities of Miss Edge- 
worth's old friends, and several of Sir Walter's new ones, 
at various mansions on our line of route : of which I must 
note especially Judge Moore's at Lamberton, near Mary- 
borough, because Sir Walter pronounced its beneficence 
to be even beyond the usual Irish scale ; for on reaching 
our next halting-place, which was an indifferent country 
inn, we discovered that we need be in no alarm as to our 
dinner, at all events, — the judge's people having privately 
packed up in one of the carriages, ere we started in the 
morning, a pickled salmon, a most lordly venison pasty, 
and half a dozen bottles of champagne. But most of 
these houses seemed, like the judge's, to have been con- 
structed on the principle of the Peri Banou's tent. They 
seemed all to have room not only for the lion and lion- 
esses, and their respective tails, but for all in the neigh- 
borhood who could be held worthy to inspect them at 

' ' It was a succession of festive gayety wherever we 
halted ; and in the course of our movements we saw many 
castles, churches, and ruins of all sorts, with more than 


enough of mountain, wood, lake, and river, to have made 
any similar progress, in any other part of Europe, truly 
delightful in all respects. But those of the party to whom 
the south of Ireland was new had almost continually be- 
fore them spectacles of ahject misery, which robbed these 
things of more than half their charm. . . . There was, 
however, abundance of ludicrous incidents to break this 
gloom ; and no traveller ever tasted either the humors or 
the blunders of Paddy more heartily than did Sir Wal- 
ter. I find recorded in one letter a very merry morning 
at Limerick, where, amidst the ringing of all the bells, in 
honor of the advent, there was ushered in a brother-poet, 
who must needs pay his personal respects to the author of 
'Marmion.' He was a scarecrow figure, attired much in 
the fashion of the strugglers, by name O'Kelly ; and he 
had produced, on the spur of the occasion, this modest 
parody of Dryden's famous epigram : — 

* Three poets, of three different nations born, 
The United Kingdom in this age adorn, — 
Byron of England ; Scott, of Scotia's blood ; 
And Erin's pride, O'Kelly, great and good.' 

" Sir "Walter's five shillings were at once forthcoming; 
and the bard, in order that Miss Edge worth might display 
equal generosity, pointed out, in a little volume of his 
works (for which, moreover, we had all to subscribe) , this 
pregnant couplet : — 

' Scott, Morgan, Edgeworth, Byron, prop of Greece, 
Are characters whose fame not soon will cease.' 

"We were still more amused (though there was real 
misery in the case) with what befell on our approach to a 
certain pretty seat, in a different county, where there was 
a collection of pictures and curiosities, not usually shown 
to travellers. A gentleman, whom we had met in Dublin, 

SCOTT'S visit to IRELAND. 417 

harl 1)pcn accompanyin<T us part of the day's journoy, and 
volunteered, being acquainted with tlie owner, to procure 
us easy admission. At tiie entrance of tiie domain, to 
which we proceeded under his wing, we were startled by 
the dolorous apparition of two undertaker's men, in volu- 
minous black scarfs, — though there was little or nothing 
of black about the rest of their habiliments, — wlio sat 
upon the highway before the gate, with a whiskey-bottle 
on a deal table between them. They informed us that the 
master of the house had died the day before, and that 
they were to keep watch and ward in this style until the 
funeral, inviting all Christian passengers to drink a glass 
to his repose. Our cicerone left his card for the widow, 
having previously, no doubt, written on it the names of 
his two lions. Shortly after we regained our post-house, 
he received a polite answer from the lady. To the best 
of my memory, it was in these terms : — 

"'Mrs. presents her kind compliments to Mr. 

, and much regrets that she cannot show the pictures 

to-day, as Major died yesterday evening by apo- 
plexy ; which Mrs. the more regrets, as it will prevent 

her having the honor to see Sii' Walter Scott and Miss 
Edgeworth.' " 

" Sir "Walter said it reminded him of a woman of Fife, 
who, summing up the misfortunes of a black year in her 
history, said, ' Let me see, sirs : first we lost our wee 
callant, and then Jenny ; and then the gudeman himsel' 
died, and then the coo died too, poor hizzey ! — but, to be 
sure, her hide brought me fifteen shillings.' 

"At one countrj'-geutleman's table where we dined, 
though two grand full-length daubs of William and Mary 
adorned the walls of the room, there was a mixed com- 
pany, about as many Catholics as Protestants, all appar- 
ently on cordial terms, and pledging each other lustily in 


bumpers of capital claret. About an hour after dinner, 
however, punch was called for : tumblers and jugs of hot 
water appeared, and with them two magnums of whiskey, 
the one bearing on its label King's, the other Queen's. 
We did not at first understand these inscriptions, but it 
was explained, sotto voce, that the King's had paid the 
duty, the Queen's was of contraband origin : and, in the 
choice of the liquors, w^e detected a new shibboleth of 
party. The jolly Protestants to a man stuck to the 
King's bottle : the equally radiant Papists paid their duty 
to the Queen's. 

" Since I have not alluded at all to the then grand dis- 
pute, I may mention, that, after our tour was concluded, we 
considered with some wonder, that, having partaken liber- 
ally of Catholic hospitality, and encountered almost every 
other class of society, we had not sat at meat with one 
specimen of the Romish priesthood ; whereas, even at 
Popish tables, we had met dignitaries of the Established 
Church. This circumstance w^e set down at the time as 
amounting pretty nearly to a proof that there were few 
gentlemen in that order, but we afterwards were willing 
to suspect that a prejudice of their own had been the 
source of it. The only incivility which Sir Walter Scott 
ultimately discovered himself to have encountered (for 
his friends did not allow him to hear of it at the time) , 
in the course of his Irish peregrination, was the refusal 
of a Roman-Catholic gentleman named O'Counell, who 
kept stag-hounds near Killarney, to allow of a hunt on the 
Upper Lake the day he visited that beautiful scenery. 
This he did, as we were told, because he considered it as 
a notorious fact, that Sir Walter Scott was an enemy to 
the Roman-Catholic claims for admission to seats in 
Parliament: He was entirely mistaken however." 



ISIaria and Sir TValtcr Scott travel to the Lakes. —DeliKhtfnl Days. 
— Return to Dublin. — Parting of the Novelists. — Irish Commer- 
cial Difficulties.— Maria meets the Crisis in Money Affairs suc- 
cessfully.— Sir Humiiliry Davy. — Captain Hall. — Maria forms 
Haltit of Morning Exercise. — "Take for Granted " announced 
without Permission. — Miss Anna Edgeworth's Bequest.— 
Maria's Disposition of It. -Fire. — Captain Hall's Journals.— 
Scott's Introduction to tire Waverley Novels. —Many Deaths 
among Maria's Friends. — Maria at AVork on "Helen." — Dis- 
tress and Famine in Ireland. —Visit to England. — Sees many 
Friends. — Lansdowne. — Duchess of "Wellington. — Baillies. — 
Carrs. — ]SIrs. Wilson. — Mackintoshes. — Herschels. — Ireland. — 
Enjoyment of Loudon. — Notes for " Helen." — Death of Scott. 

This large party travelled in an open caleclie of Sir 
Walter's, and Captain Scott's chariot, and changed 
their position as fancy dictated or the weather made 
it necessary. Sir Walter said, when some difficulty 
occurred at one post-house about getting fresh 
horses, — 

" Swift in one of his letters, when no horses were to 
be had, says, ' If we had but had a captain of horse to 
swear for us, we should have had the horses at once ; ' 
now here we have the captain of horse, but the landlord is 
not moved even by him." 

Sir Walter and ^laria were both excellent travel- 
lers, not easily put out by trifles, and always ready 
to make the best of every thing. He was diverted 
by ]Miss Edgewortli's eagerness for every one's com- 


fort, and her enthusiasm. He amused himself with 
her admiration of a green baize covered door at the 
inn at Killarney : " Miss Edgeworth, you are so 
mightily pleased with that door, I think j^ou will 
carry it away with you to Edgeworthstown." Long 
years after this excursion to the Lakes, Lord Macau- 
lay in visiting Killarney had a boatman who "gloried 
in having rowed Sir Walter Scott and Miss Edge- 
worth twenty-four years ago. It was, he said, a 
compensation to him for having missed a hanging 
which took place that day." 

The reason of the failure of the stag-hunt at the 
Lakes alluded to by Mr. Lockhart was because the 
proprietor of the hounds had lost his brother-in-law 
the night before the party arrived at Killarney. The 
letter of Miss Edgeworth to Miss Hall fully explains 
the circumstances. She pointed this fact out to Mr. 
Lockhart, who insisted on retaining his statement of 
the affair, and attempted to attribute the failure of 
the hunt to other causes, in what seems an ill-natured 
manner, naming Sir Walter Scott's opposition to 
Catholic emancipation as one cause. This letter 
follows : — 

[Miss Edgeworth' s Last Letter to Mrs. S. C. Hall about Sir 
Walter Scott's Visit to Ireland.] 

Edgeworthstown, June 18, 1843. 
My sister, Harriet Butler, and I were in the boat with 
Sir Walter Scott the day, and the only day, when he was 
on the Killarney Lakes. We heard him declare that he 
thought the Upper Lake the most beautiful he had ever 
seen excepting Loch Lomond : more could not by mortal 
tongue be expressed by a Scotsman. I did not hear him 


find fault, or say that he was disappointed, during the 
whole row. He appeared pleased and pleasing ; and 
why any people should have imagined he was not, I 
cannot imagine. "Rude," I am sure he was not: he 
could not be. We were sorry that we could not stay 
another day ; but all experienced travellers know full 
well that they must give up their wishes to previous 
arrangements and engagements, and that they must cut 
their plans and pleasures according to their time and 
promises. As to the affair of the stag-lumt, I can only 
say that / received no invitation to see one ; that we did 
not receive any ; that I heard at the time that a stag-hunt 
would not be offered to us, because the stag-hounds 
belonged to some near relation of a gentleman much 
respected in the country, who had just died suddenly, 
and was not buried. I recollect passing by the gates 
of his place, and seeing two men in deep mourning, 
with weepers, sitting on each side of the gate. As I 
had never before seen this custom, I made inquiry, and 
was told why they mourned, and who for ; and this 
confirmed and fixed in memory what I have above men- 

Mrs. Hall adds the following note from Mrs. But- 

Dear Mrs. Hall, — My recollection of the circum- 
stances mentioned by my sister at Killarney, in 1825, 
exactly coincides with hers : I remember our being told, 
as we drove into Killarney, that we should have no stag- 
hunt, as the master of the hounds had died that morning. 

Yours truly, 

Harriet Butler. 
Trim. 19th June, 1&43. 


The party was joined by William Edgeworth, who 
was then laying out the road to Glengariff : he met 
them at Tralee, and told them that this hunt was 
put off, and the reason for its dela3^ 

The trip to Killarney was unraarred by any thing 
that could detract from the pleasure of Miss Edge- 
worth's distinguished friend Sir Walter, for he was 
too large-hearted, too generous, to consider himself 
likely to be slighted ; and the fact of seeing the 
mourners sitting at the gate of the dead man's house 
was conclusive evidence to all but Mr. Lockhart. 
They returned direct from Killarney to Dublin, and 
went to the house of Capt. Scott in St. Stephen's 
Green. The 15th of August was Scott's birthday ; 
and his health was drunk with much feeling, — more 
tenderness than gayety, perhaps, for the approaching 
separation of the friends cast a shadow on this occa- 
sion. Maria and he took an affectionate farewell, 
which was, as it proved, a final one. 

Miss Edgeworth was soon at home again, and was 
settling down to her usual manner of life. She 
wrote to a friend, — 

" Your observations about the difficulties of ' Take for 
Granted ' are excellent. I ' take for granted ' I shall be 
able to conquer them. If only one instance were taken, 
the whole story must turn upon that, and be constructed 
to bear on one point ; and that j^ointing to the moral 
would not appear natural. As Sir Walter said to me, in 
reply to my observing it is difficult to introduce the 
moral without displeasing the reader, ' The rats won't 
go into the trap if they smell the hand of the rat- 
catchei'.' " 


Sir Walter Scott wrote the following letter after 
his return to Scotland : — 

[To Miss Joanna Baillie, Ilanipstcatl.] 

Abbotsford, Oct. 12, 1825. 
... I well intondcd to have written from Ireland ; 
hut, alas ! hell, as some stern old divine says, is paved 
with good intentions. There was such a whirl of visiting 
and hiking and boating and wondering and shouting and 
laughing and carousing ; so much to be seen, and so 
little time to see it ; so much to be heard, and only two 
ears to listen to twenty voices, — that, upon the whole, I 
grew desperate, and gave up all thoughts of doing what 
was right and proper upon post-days. And so all my 
epistolary good intentions are gone to macadamize, I 
suppose, "the burning marl" of the infernal regions. 
I have not the pen of our friend INIaria Edgeworth, who 
writes all the while she laughs, talks, eats, and drinks ; 
and I believe, though I do not pretend to be so far in the 
secret, all the time she sleeps too. She has good luck in 
having a pen which walks at once so unweariedly and so 
well. I do not, however, quite like her last book on 
" Education," considered as a general work. She should 
have limited the title to ' ' Education in Natural Philoso- 
ph}'," or some such term ; for there is no great use in 
teaching children in general to roof houses, or build 
bridges, which, after all, a carpenter or a mason does a 
great deal better at two shillings sixpence per day. In a 
waste country, like some parts of America, it may do very 
well, or perhaps for a sailor or a traveller, certainly for a 
civil engineer. But in the ordinary professions of the 
better-informed orders, I have always observed that a 
small taste for mechanics tends to encouraging a sort of 
trifling self-conceit, founded on knowing that which is 


not worth being known by one who has other matters to 
employ his mind on, and, in short, forms a trumpery 
gim crack kind of a character, who is a mechanic among 
gentlemen, and most probably a gentleman among me- 
chanics. You must understand I mean only to challenge 
the system as making mechanics too much and too gen- 
eral a subject of education, and converting scholars into 
makers of toys. Men like Watt, or whose genius tends 
strongly to invent and execute those wonderful combina- 
tions which extend in such an incalculable degree the 
human force and command over the physical world, do 
not come within ordinary rules ; but your ordinary Harry 
should be kept to his grammar, and your Lucy of most 
common occurrence will be best employed on her sampler, 
instead of wasting wood, and cutting their fingers, which 
I am convinced they did, though their historian says 
nothing of it. 

Well, but I did not mean to say any thing about 
Harry and Lucy, whose dialogues are very interesting 
after all ; but about Ireland, which I could prophesy for 
as well as if I were Thomas the Rhymer. Her natural 
gifts are so great, that, despite all the disadvantages 
which have hitherto retarded her progress, she will, I be- 
lieve, be queen of the trefoil of kingdoms. I never saw 
a richer country, or to speak my mind, a finer people : the 
worst of them is the bitter and envenomed dislike which 
they have to each other. . . . Then we had beautiful lakes, 
" those vast inland seas " as Spenser terms them ; and hills 
which they call mountains ; and dargles and dingles ; and 
most superb ruins of castles and abbeys ; and live nuns in 
strict retreat, not permitted to speak, but who read their 
breviaries with one eye, and looked at their visitors with 
the other. Then we had Miss Edgeworth, and the kind- 
uatured, clever Harriet, who moved and thought and 

SCOTT's letter to JOANNA UAILLIE. 425 

acted for everybody's comfort rather than her own ; we 
had Lockhart to say clever things, and Walter, with his 
whiskers, to overawe obstinate i)ostili()ns and impudent 
beggars ; and Jane to bless iierself that the folks had 
neither houses, clothes, nor furniture ; and Anne to make 
fun from morning to night, — 

" And inerry folks were we ! " 

... I beg kind respects to dear Mrs. Agnes and to 
]\Irs. Baillie. Lady Scott and Anne send best respects. I 
have but room to say that I am always yours, 

Walter Scott. 

The names of Scott and Miss Edgeworth will long 
be connected by those who read of their friendship 
and mutual regard. Chief- Justice Story, in a Phi 
Beta Kappa address at Cambridge, Mass., in 1822, 
said of this warm friendship and pleasant literary 
fellowship, — 

"Who does not contemplate with enthusiasm the 
matchless wit, the inexhaustible conversations, the fine 
character painting, the practical instruction of Miss Edge- 
worth, The Great Known, standing in her own depart- 
ment, by the side of The Great Unknown ? ' ' 

The year 1826 was marked by commercial difficul- 
ties, and the state of the money-market distressed 
many of the Irish landlords. Miss Edgeworth gave 
up the charge of the estate, and tlie management of 
the rents, at her father's death ; and Lovell Edge- 
worth, the heir, took the affairs into his own hands. 
Miss Edgeworth again undertook the care of the 
business of the estate, and enabled her brother by 


her tact, skill, and long acquaintance with such mat- 
ters to weather the storm. She wrote iu the follow- 
ing year; April, 1827 : — 

" I am quite well, and in high good humor and spirits, 
in consequence of having received the whole of Lovell's 
half-year's rents in full, with pleasure to the tenants, and 
without the least fatigue or anxiety to myself." 

She received in the yehv 1826 an admirable trans- 
lation of "Harry and Lucy," by her Parisian friend, 
Mme. Belloc. In the same year her witty essay on 
"Bores" appeared in a very stupid annual, named 
" Janus," and was quite lost in its dull pages. 

The death of Lady Scott recalled to Miss Edge- 
worth the kindly welcome given her by that lady in 
Edinburgh and at Abbotsford. She said of her, — 

" She was a most kind-hearted, hospitable person, and 
had much more sense, and more knowledge of character, 
and discrimination, than many of those who ridiculed 

In July Sir Humphry Davy visited Edgeworths- 
town. He was then president of the Royal Society, 
and at the height of his fame and prosperity. Maria 
said, — 

"Travelling, and his increased acquaintance with the 
world, has enlarged the range, without lowering the ^JzYc/i, 
of Sir Humphry's mind." 

She borrowed this allusion from Sir John Se- 
bright's very entertaining essay on taming hawks, 
which he sent her. She added, — 

Sm llUJNIPllltY DAVY. 427 

"There is at this moment a gentleman in Ireland, 
near Belfast, who trains hawks and goes a-hawkiug, — a 
Mr. Sinclair." 

Some time after this, when Miss Edgeworth was 
preparing to write her " Helen," this essay must have 
recurred to her memory, for she made a hawking 
scene a very pretty chapter in that novel ; and the 
hawk is quite an important actor in the sketch of 
Beauclerc's character. 

Sir Humphry repeated to Miss Edgeworth a re- 
markable criticism of Bonaparte's on Talma's acting: 
" You don't play Nero well : you gesticulate too 
much ; you speak with too much vehemence. A 
despot does not need all that: he need only j)ro- 
nounee. II salt quil se suffit ;"" and, added Talma, 
who told this to Sir Humphry, "Bonaparte, as he 
said this, folded his arms, in his well-known manner, 
and stood as if his attitude expressed the sentiment." 

In August, Harriet Edgeworth married the Rev. 
Mr. Butler, rector of Trim. In September of this 
year INIiss Edgeworth made a visit of four months 
to Black Castle. She enjoyed the following joke 
by Lord Longford, who was something of a wag. 
When a friend was going from Edgeworthstown to 
Pakenham Hall, Lord Longford, as was customary, 
was to send for her to the float or ferry where they 
crossed the river to Longford. Instead of sending 
horses, his lordship sent a pair of bullocks ; the ser- 
vant remarking, " ' My lord had not another beast to 
spare for you ' — my lord being behind the hedge to 
enjoy her look of astonishment and dismay." 


When Capt. Basil Hall was publishing his account 
of the Loochoo Islands, in 1818, he sent a copy of 
it to Miss Edgeworth by Mrs. Marcet, to whom he 
wrote : — 

"I have put 'To Miss Edgeworth' in the titlepage, 
as my offering ; which is hke a common sailor scratcliiug 
his name on Nelson's pillar." 

In 1823 he became personally acquainted with 
]\Iiss Edgeworth, being introduced to her at Sir 
Walter Scott's, in Scotland. This was the beginning 
of a most agreeable friendship, and a long correspond- 
ence, broken only by Capt. Hall's death. 

When he was going to America, Miss Edgeworth 
gave him letters to friends there , among them, Mrs. 
Lazarus of Wilmington, formerly Miss Mordecai of 
Richmond, who had urged ]\Iiss Edgeworth to write 
a story containing a good Jew, and reproached her 
with reviling the race. 

In 1827 Miss Edgeworth began a practice of tak- 
ing early walks. For many years she followed this 
custom of rising at seven o'clock in the morning, to 
walk for three-quarters of an hour. A lady who 
lived in the village said her maid used to wake her 
in the morning, saying, "Miss Edgeworth's walking, 
ma'am : it's eight o'clock." In September Mr. Her- 
schel made a flying visit to Miss Edgeworth. Miss 
Edgeworth received a visit from an American lady, 
who brought her a note from Sir Philip Crampton. 
She was accompanied by her brothers and the son 
of Mrs. Grant of Laggan, celebrated by her Scotch 
sketches. She found Miss Douglas a very pleasing 


person, something of a "mixture of American and 
Scotch in her whole appearance ; an interesting, sin- 
cere, generous, and uncommon person." 

" Tlie Literary Gazette " of this year made an 
announcement that Miss Edgeworth "was far ad- 
vanced in a novel called ' Take for Granted.' " Miss 
Edgeworth could not guess by whom this statement 
was circulated. It was not designed for any thing 
but a short tale, and she never completed it. Dur- 
ing the spring of 1828, she wrote a story called 
" (xarry Owen," of about fifty printed pages, for Mr. 
Lockhart's "young friend Mr. Croker's 'Christmas 
Box,' " a little annual published in 1829. 

Miss Anna Edgeworth, a distant relation, died in 
London in 1828, and bequeathed to Miss Edge- 
worth a pair of diamond earrings and pearl bracelets. 
With the proceeds of the sale of these jewels. Miss 
Edgeworth built a market-house in the village, and 
a room over it for the magistrate's petty sessions. 

The house at Edgeworthstown caught fire , and, 
by the exertions of the tenants and villagers, it was 
speedily put out after moderate damage, but causing 
much alarm and confusion. INLiria was touched by 
the devotion shown there in this danger. " The zeal, 
the sense, the generosity, the courage, of the people," 
she wrote, " is beyond any thing I can describe : I 
can only feel it." 

The Ruxtons made a foreign tour ; and, on their 
return to Ireland, the son who took the name of 
Fitzherbert at his father's death, in 1825, lived at 
Black Castle, and Mrs. Iluxton and her daughters 
went to reside at Bloomfield, near Dublin. There 


Maria visited them in the spring of 1828. Fanny 
Edgeworth married Mr. Le Stock Wilson in this year, 
and went to live in London. 

Capt. Hall, who had sent Miss Edgeworth his 
journal of his social experiences in Great Britain, 
now sent her his journals kept during his American 
journeys, and some of Mrs. Hall's letters to her 
family. She enjoyed them. Her letters of criti- 
cism, advice, and praise were excellent, and valued 
by Capt. Hall. At the end of one of them, she says 
she hopes Mrs. Hall will not be exhausted by it ; 
and she ends it by "My dear Basil, keep on your 
own way up the hill, and never turn to listen to the 
black stones, even though one of them calls to you 
with the voice of that Maria Edgeworth." 

The introduction to the new edition of Scott's 
works was seen by Capt. Hall while it was passing 
through the press : as she was named in it, he sent 
her the sheets where the mention was made of her. 
She wrote, — 

"It was very good of Capt. Hall to think of sending 
me these sheets. Sir AValter Scott has, in the most de- 
lightful and kind manner, said every thing that could 
gratify me as an author, friend, and human creature." 

Mrs. Ruxton said of this tribute paid her niece by 
Scott, she would forgive Sir Walter " whatever fault 
he may commit in his next novel, and for the rest of 
his life, for this charming passage." In writing her 
thanks to Capt. Hall, Maria said, — 

"If I could, as you say, flatter myself that Sir Walter 
Scott was in any degree influenced to write and publish 


Ilis novels from scoinp; my sketches of Irish characters, I 
sliould, indeed, Iriinnph in the ' thought of having l)een 
the [)roxiuiate cause of such happiness to millions.' " 

In Sir Walter Scott's general introduction to the 
Waverlcy novels, dated Abbotsford, Jan. 1, 1829, ho 
says, in alluding to the missing manuscript which 
became " Waverley," — 

"Two circumstances, in particular, recalled my recol- 
tection of the mislaid manuscript. The first was tlie 
extended and well-merited fame of Miss Edge worth, 
whose Irish characters have gone so far to make the 
English familiar with the character of their gay and kind- 
hearted neighbors of Ireland, that she may be truly said 
to have done more towards completing the union than 
perhaps all the legislative enactments by which it has 
been followed up. 

" Without being so presumptuous as to hope to emu- 
late the rich humor, pathetic tenderness, and admirable 
tact, which pervade the works of my accomplished friend, 
I felt that something might be attempted for my own 
country, of the same kind with that which Miss Edge- 
worth so fortunately achieved for Ireland ; something 
which might introduce her natives to those of the sister 
kingdom in a more favorable light than ihey had been 
placed hitherto, and tend to produce sympathy for their 
virtues, and indulgence for their foibles." 

The saying of Mrae. de Stael, " On depose fleur a 
fleur la couronne de la vie," came vividly home to 
Miss Edgeworth, as year by year some chosen friend 
or dear relation was called from earth. The penalty 
of long life was hers. Her brother, William Edge- 
worth, the talented engineer, succumbed to the 


malady of the Sneyds, his mother's family. He died, 
after a short illness, in 1829. 

During this year Miss Edgeworth had the pleasure 
of meeting the poet Wordsworth. She enjoyed his 
conversation ; but, as she was not feeling at all well, 
had to content herself with seeing less of him than 
pleased, though perhaps " as much as good for her " 
under the existing circumstances. 

The year 1830 was one of distress for Ireland ; 
and in May, Maria was busy " with ditches, drains, 
and sewers," to give employment to the poor, and 
letting houses, and farming; combining with these 
practical and necessary occupations " thinking three 
hours a day of ' Helen : ' to what purpose I dare not 
say," she added. July found her writing of the 
condition of affairs. 

" The people about us are now in great distress, having 
neither work nor food ; and we are going to buy meat to 
distribute at half-price." 

In November Mrs. Ruxton died ; another very 
grievous blow to her niece, who loved her with devo- 
tion. After her father's death, she turned with still 
stronger feeling to her as one who had always had a 
large share of her thoughts and regard. 

When Mrs. S. C. Hall published her first book in 
1829, "Sketches of Irish Character," she received 
the following words of kindly encouragement and 
appreciation from Miss Edgeworth : — 

"It has been sometimes my fate to have gratitude and 
sincerity struggling within me when I have begun a letter 
of thanks to authors : I have no such struggle now ; but 


with pleasure unmixed, niid perfect freedom of mind and 
ease of conseience, I write to you. 'The Sketches of 
Irish C'liaracter' are, in my opinion, admirable for truth, 
pathos, and Innnor : <dl the sketclies show complete knowl- 
edge of the persons and things represented ; and some of 
the portraits are drawn with uncommon strength, and 
with more decided and fine touches, which mark a mas- 
terly hand." 

In the year 1830 INIiss Edgeworth revisited her 
friends in England. She spent some time with her 
brother Snejd at Brandford, near Gondhnrst in 
Kent, and saw the Lansdownes often when she was 
in London. In December she was at Lansdowne 
House ; and in conversation Lord Lansdowne told 
her an instance of Louis Philippe's '■'■prSsence d' esprit : 
a mob surrounded him, ' Que desirez-vous, mes- 
sieurs V — ' Nous desirous Napoleon.' — ' Eli bien ! 
allez done le trouver.' " The mob laughed, cheered, 
and dispersed. 

She "saw Talleyrand at Lansdowne House, like a 
corpse, with his hair dressed ailes de pigeon bien pou- 
dre. As Lord Lansdowne drolly said, ' How much 
these axles de pigeon have gone through unchanged ! 
How many revolutions have they seen ! How many 
changes of their master's mind ! ' Talleyrand has 
less countenance than any man of talents I ever saw: 
he seems to think, not only that ' la parole etait 
donne a I'homme pour deguiser sa pensee,' but that 
expression of countenance was given him as a curse 
to betray his emotions : therefore he has exerted all 
his abilities to conquer all expression, and to throw 


into his face that ' no meaning ' whicli puzzles more 
than wit, but I heard none." 

Mrs. Somerville, in her " Recollections," says, — 

' ' Maria Edgeworth came frequently to see us when she 
was in England. She was one of my most intimate 
friends, warm-hearted and kind, a charmmg companion, 
with all the liveliness and originality of an Irishwoman. 
For seventeen years I was in constant correspondence 
with her. The cleverness and animation, as well as affec- 
tion, of her letters, I cannot express : certainly women 
are superior to men in letter- writing." 

Moore wrote in his diary of April, 1831, — 

" While at breakfast, received a note from Rogers to 
remind me that I had promised to breakfast with him. 
Went, and found Miss Edgeworth, Luttrell, Lord Nor- 
manby (now Mulgrave), and Sharpe. Miss Edgeworth, 
with all her cleverness, any thing but agreeable. The 
moment any one begins to speak, off she starts too, sel- 
dom more than a sentence behind them, and in general 
continues to distance every speaker. Neither does what 
she says, though of course very sensible, at all make up 
for this over-activity of tongue." 

This rather comical complaint of Moore reminds 
one of the saying Smollett put into the mouth of 
Bramble in " Humphrey Clinker," " One wit in a 
company, like a knuckle of ham in soup, gives flavor: 
but two are too many." Vanity and self-love were 
probably at the bottom of iMoore's annoyance. The 
lady was the greater star. 

The Carrs and Joanna Baillie cordially welcomed 
her to Hampstead. She wrote of this meeting : — 


" It is alwaj'S gratifj-iiifj; to find old friends the same 
after long ubsence ; but it has been partieularly so to nie 
now, when not only the leaves of tlie pleasures of life 
fall naturall}' into its winter, but when great branches on 
■whom hai)i)iness depended are gone." 

Joanna Baillio had a pleasant anecdote to tell 
JMaria of Lord Dudley and Ward, who wrote to Sir 
Walter Scott offering to take on himself the amount 
of Scott's debts, and be paid by instalments as 
miu'ht suit him. 

Miss Edgeworth visited her sister, Mrs. Wilson, 
who was living in London. While she was seeing 
her literary friends, and renewing her old friendships, 
a message was sent her by the Duchess of Welling- 
ton ; who asked her to come to see her, if she would 
please an 'old friend, Kitty Pakenham, who remem- 
bered the many happy days spent at Edgeworths- 
town. She found her very ill in a magnificent room 
at Apsley House ; not magnificent from its size, 
height, length, or breadth, but from its contents, — 
the presents of cities, kingdoms, and sovereigns. 

" Opposite her couch hung the gold shield in imitation 
of the shield of Achilles, — with all the duke's victories 
eml)ossed on the margin, the duke and his staff in the 
centre, surrounded with blazing raj's, — given by the city 
of London. On either side, the great candelabras belong- 
ing to the massive plateau given by Portugal, which can- 
not be lifted without machinery. At either end, in deep 
and tall glass cases, from top to bottom ranged the ser- 
vices of Dresden and German china, presented l)y the 
Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia. While I 
looked at these, the duchess, raising herself quite up. 


exclaimed with weak-voiced, strong-souled enthusiasm, 
' All tributes to merit ! there's the value, all pure, no 
corruption suspected even. Even of the Duke of Marl- 
borough, that could not be said so truly.' The fresh, 
uutired enthusiasm she feels for his character, for her 
own still youthful imagination of her hero, after all she 
has gone through, is most touching. There she is fading 
away, still feeding, when she can feed on nothing else, 
on his glories, on the perfume of his incense." 

After a delightful breakfast in February with the 
Mackintoshes, at which Sir James was most brilliant, 
Miss Edgeworth said she felt as she supposed " dram- 
drinkers do after their ' morning.' Oh ! what it is to 
come within the radiance of genius," she adds, quot- 
ing from a remark of her sister, Anna Beddoes, on 
Dr. Beddoes's death. 

At the Herschells', at Slough, ]\Iiss Edgeworth 
met a lady who interested her very much by remi- 
niscences of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Mrs. Gwatkin 
was the niece of Sir Joshua, and exceedingly at- 
tached to him, and " indignant at the idea of his not 
having written the ' Discourses.' Burke or Johnson, 
indeed ! No such thing. He wrote them himself. 
I am evidence. He used to employ me as his secre- 

She saw at Mrs. Gwatkin's house, the next day, 
the original of Sir Joshua's " Simplicity," who has 
now flowers in her lap, in consequence of the observa- 
tion of a foolish woman, who, looking at the picture 
as it was originally painted, with the child's hands 
interlaced, with the backs of the hands turned up, 
exclaimed ""How beautiful! How natural the dish of 


prawns the dear little thing has in her lap!" Sir 
Joshua threw the tlowers over the prawns. He 
painted Mrs. Gwatkin seven times : '' But don't be 
vain, my dear. I only use your head as I would tliat 
of any beggar, — as a good practice." Mrs. (Jwatkin, 
though very deaf, like her uncle, was still a pretty 

Miss Edgeworth saw Knowlc before she returned to 
London. She enjoyed the lovely old place, saying, " I 
never saw a house and place that pleased me more." 

After her return from this country excursion, she 
went to see the Duchess of Wellington, but learned 
that her cousin was dead, — had been dead two days. 
The duke was '•'■beside her^'"' she learned, at her death; 
and " a lock of hair was brought her by the devoted 
maid of the duchess, — all left of the beautiful Kitty 
Pakenham. So ended that sweet, innocent — shall 
we say happy, or unhappy? — life." She adds, 
" Happy, I should think, through all : happy in her 
good feelings and good conscience and warm affec- 
tions, still loving on ; happy in her faith, her hope, 
and her charity." This death made a deep impres- 
sion on Miss Edgeworth. 

After another visit at Hampstead, where she heard 
Miss Ferrier's novel of " Destiny " read by Isabella 
Carr, she went home in August from " universal Lon- 
don," after a successful and agreeable visit. Miss 
Edgeworth thoroughly enjoyed London. 

The freshness with which ]Miss Edgeworth enjoyed 
the pleasures of life cannot fail to charm the ob- 
server. She took life very philosophically, — the 
mingfled jrood and evil which must come tu all alike. 


Undoubtedly she had a peculiarly happy tempera- 
ment ; for great gifts, worldly prosperity, and happi- 
ness do not always bring such contentment as hers. 
She had nothing of that morbid striving after effect 
too often seen among literary people. A flower, a 
happy quotation, a beautiful scene, all contributed 
to her enjoyment. She drew pleasure from the sim- 
l^le incidents of a life well and usefully spent. 

An old Scotchman, Sir Harry Moncrief, used to 
say, that no man, long accustomed to cit}' life, could 
retire and live in the country and muse "for six 
months, without becoming an idiot." Country life, 
spent as Miss Edgeworth passed her time, with the 
occasional breaks of visits to friends, London society. 
Continental tours, was what gave her the needed 
time for perfection of thought and study. It gave 
her, also, the keen enjoyment of life's pleasures 
which enabled her to say in her sixty-fourth year, 
in 1831, though losing every year some valued friend, 
and naturally sensible herself of the approach of 

" Old as I am, and unimaginative as I am thought to 
be, I have really always found, that the pleasures I have 
expected would be great have actually been greater iu my 
enjoyment than iu anticipation." 

The rest of the year 1831 was quietly spent at 
home, with the exception of a visit made in October 
to the Misses Ruxton, at Rosstrevor. Francis Edge- 
worth was married in December to Miss Eroles, who 
was cordially welcomed by Maria as a new sister. 

In April, 1832, Miss Edgeworth was again at work 

" HELEN." 439 

on "Helen." Churchill in the book was originally 
called " Townsend." To show how widely she drew 
her plan, she read ^Nlirabeau for this charaeter, as she 
wished to exemplify in his peculiarities " the stealing 
wit and ideas in conversation." 

In Darwin's first interlude to the " Botanic Gar- 
den," he said, " You may pluck the wild-flowers in 
the field of literature, but you must not gather the 
cultivated fruit in your neighbor's gardens ; " and 
this striking thought, which was apropos of plagia- 
rism, and the instances of resemblances in thought 
and expression, caused her to write in her notes for 
"Helen:" — 

"Some, indeed, add murder to robbery, like Voltaire 
with Shakspeare. Some, standing upon the mines, call 
out, ' No mines here ! ' and depreciate that they may 
appropriate. Some claim possession by right of improve- 
ment, and others take without even the fonn of claiming, 
like Mirabeau, 'II y a lougtemps que j'ai dit.' Some 
drag the barbarian gold from the savage's ears. End with 
examining whether time does, or does not, do justice at 
last, in fairly apportioning moral or literary fame." 

These notes took definite shape and form in the 
description of Churchill, in "Helen," where she 
wrote of him : — 

" Persons without a name, Horace treated as barbarians 
who did uot know the vahie of their gold ; and he seemed 
to think, that, if they chanced to possess rings and jewels, 
they might be plucked from them without remorse, and 
converted to better use by some lucky civilized adventurer. 
Yet in his most successful piracies he was always haunted 


by the fear of discovery, and he especially dreaded the 
acute perception of Lady Davenaut." 

The following letter from Miss Edgeworth to Mrs. 
Somerville, thanking her for her gift of a copy of her 
last work, " The Preliminary Dissertation," or " The 
Physical Sciences," will interest from its modest ad- 
miration of the great talents of her friend. 

Edgewortiistowx, May 31, 1832. 

My dear Mrs. Somerville, — There is one satisfaction 
at least in giving knowledge to the ignorant, to those who 
know their ignorance at least, — that they are grateful and 
humble. You should have my grateful and humble thanks 
long ago for the favor, the honor, you did me by sending 
me that " Preliminary Dissertation," in which there is so 
much knowledge, but that I really wished to read it over 
and over again at some intervals of time, and to have the 
pleasure of seeing my sister Harriet read it, before I should 
write to you. She has come to us, and has just been en- 
joying it, as I knew she would. For my part, I was long 
in the state of the boa-constrictor after a full meal ; and I 
am but just recovering the powers of motion. My mind 
was so distended by the magnitude, the immensit}', of 
what you put into it. I am afraid, that, if you had been 
aware how ignorant I was, you would not have sent me 
this dissertation ; because you would have felt that you 
were throwing away much that I could not understand, 
and that could be better bestowed on scientific friends, 
capable of judging of what they admire. I can only 
assure you tliat you have given me a great deal of pleas- 
ure ; that you have enlarged my conception of the sub- 
limity of the universe, beyond any ideas I had ever before 
been enabled to form. 


The great simplicity of your maimer of writing, I may 
say of your viind, wliicli appears in your writing, particu- 
larly suits tlie scientific sublime, which would be destroyed 
by what is commonly called fine writing. You trust sulU- 
ciently to the natural interest of your subject, to the im- 
portance of the facts, the beauty of the whole, and the 
adaptation of the means to the ends, in every part of the 
immense whole. This reliance upon your reader's feeling 
along with you was to me very gratifying. The orna- 
ments of eloquence dressing out a sublime subject are just 
so many proofs either of bad taste in the orator, or of dis- 
trust and contempt of the taste of those whom he is try- 
ing thus to captivate. 

I suppose nobody yet has completely mastered the 
tides, therefore I may well content myself with my inabil- 
ity to comprehend what relates to them. But, instead of 
plaguing you with an endless enumeration of my difficul- 
ties, I had better tell you some of the passages which gave 
me, ignoramus as I am, peculiar pleasure. ... I am afraid 
I shall transcribe your whole book if I go on to tell you all 
that has struck me ; and you would not thank me for that, 
— you who have so little vanity, and so much to do bet- 
ter with your time thau to read viy ignorant admiration. 
But pray let me mention to you a few of the passages that 
amused my imagination particularly; viz., 1st, the inhab- 
itant of Pallas going round his world — or who might 
go — in five or six hours in one of our steam-carriages ; 
2d, the moderate-sized man who would weigh two tons at 
the surface of the sun, and who would weigh only a few 
pounds at the surface of the four new planets, and would 
be so light as to find it impossible to stand from the ex- 
cess of muscular force. I think a very entertaining dream 
might be made of a man's visit to the sun and planets. 
These ideas are all like dreamy feelings when one is a lit- 


tie feverish. I forgot to mention (page 58) a passage on 
the propagation of sound. It is a beautiful sentence, as 
well as a sublime idea: "so that at a very small height 
above the surface of the earth, the noise of the tempest 
ceases ; and the thunder is heard no more in tliose bound- 
less regions, where the heavenly bodies accomplish their 
periods in eternal and sublime silence." 

Excuse me in my trade of sentence-monger, and believe 
me, dear Mrs. Somerville, truly your obliged and truly 

your affectionate friend, 

Maria Edge worth. 

I have persuaded your dear curly-headed friend Harriet 
to add her own observations. She sends her love to j'ou ; 
and I know you love her, otherwise I would not press her 
to write her own say. 

In September of 1832 Miss Edgeworth made an 
excursion to Pakenliara Hall, a place she always en- 
joyed visiting very much. 

In November Miss Edgeworth wrote Mr. Banna- 
tyne of the death of Sir Walter Scott : — 

" The death of Sir "Walter Scott has filled us all, as his 
private friends and admirers, with sorrow. I do not 
mean that we would have wished the prolongation of his 
life such as it had been for the last months : quite the 
contrary. But we feel poignant anguish from the thought 
that such a life as his was prematurely shortened ; that 
such faculties, such a genius — such as is granted but once 
in an age, once in many ages — should have been extin- 
guished of its light, of its power to enlighten and vivify 
the world, long before its natural term for setting ! 
"Whatever the errors may have been, oh, what have been 
the unremitted, generous, alas ! overstrained exertions of 
that noble nature ! " 


Sir Walter to the very last paid the most cfonor- 
ous tributes of praise and affectionate admiration 
to Maria. At Malta he told Mrs. John Davy, — the 
daughter of Mrs. Fletcher of Ivlinl)urgh, who mar- 
ried the brother of Sir Humphry Davy, — as they 
drove together, something of his fancies about books, 
adding, — 

" ' And there's that Irish lady too, —hut I forget every- 
body's name now.' — 'Miss Edgevvorth,' I said. — 'Ay, 
Miss Edgeworth : she's very clever, and best in the little 
touches too. I'm sure, in that children's story [he 
meant ' Simple Susan '], where the little girl parts with her 
lamb, and the little boy brings it back to her again, 
there's nothing for it but just to put down the book, and 

When Mr. Lockhart was preparing his "Life of 
Scott," he asked INIiss Edgeworth for Sir Walter's 
letters to herself. She had a great dislike to the 
publication of a private and friendly correspondence 
in any case ; but with these letters she felt, as she 
expressed herself to a correspondent, that they had 
too much of what was merely personal to allow her 
to print them. She said she had " refused to give 
him Scott's letters for publication, and very painful 
it was to me to refuse him, at present, any thing he 
asked ; but principle and consistency, painful or not, 
required it, besides my own feelings. I could not 
bear to publish Sir Walter's praises of myself, and 
affectionate expressions and private sentiments. I 
did send one letter to Mr. Lockhart, exemplifying 
what I mean, — the beautiful letter on his changing 



"Helen." — Maria still at "Work on this Book. — Encouragement 
from Friends. — "Helen" finished. — Received with great In- 
terest by the Public. — Remarks on "Helen." — Sir Culling 
Smith. — Maria's visit to Connemara. — Letter from Col. Stewart. 
— Answers Mrs. Stark. — " Dublin University Magazine." 

In 1832 Miss Edge worth was hard at work at 
" Helen," which was approaching completion. Her 
only " complaint " was that she could never do in 
any day as much as she intended, she said at this 
time. She sorely needed encouragement and urging 
when she first undertook tliis work, and as early as 
1830 wrote to one of her sisters that she had given 
her "new life and spirit to go on with her" (Helen). 

Miss Edgeworth had so long accustomed herself 
to depending upon her father's judgment and criti- 
cism, that she dreaded the attempt she was urged 
by her friends to make alone and unaided. She 
finished the plan her father had laid out for " Rosa- 
mond," " Frank," and " Harry and Lucy , " but for 
many years the thought of writing a novel which 
should challenge comparison with " Belinda " or 
" Patronage " seemed an impossibility. But the 
success with which her sequel to the " Early Les- 
sons " was received gave her the desire to begin a 
larger work. As she sat at her fancy-work or sew- 
ing, took her walks, or drove, she began to tliink of 

" HELEN." 445 

a story, and made notes for it. Unfortunately, that 
very lack of capacity for framing a plot, which Lord 
Dudley considered her weak point, hampered her 
very much in preparing " Helen." She began to 
write this novel without making the complete sketch 
of the story, and went on altering the plot as she 
wrote, which somewhat injured the completeness 
of the tale. Then, too, this method of writing was 
rather disheartening ; for she wasted time in altering 
where she should have been actively proceeding with 
her story. In 183:2 she compared herself to an old 
lamp at the point of extinction from exhaustion, 
when some friendly hand pours fresh oil upon it, 
on receiving a letter urging her to continue her 
story. Mr. and Mrs. Butler were deeply interested 
in " Helen ; " and, finally, their confidence in her 
powers so inspired her that she bent all her efforts 
to make " Helen " a perfect piece of work. This 
book was started in 1830 ; but the constant interrup- 
tions to which she was always liable, and which she 
permitted to break up her time too much, made her 
delay it. Then the very doubts with which she 
wrote gave her less desire to concentrate her energy; 
but finally, in spite of family affairs, the agency of 
her brother's business, visits from friends, and to 
England and among Irish friends, she became inter- 
ested in her heroine's fate, and resolutely carried 
" Helen " to a successful end of her difficulties. In 
February, 1833, she wrote a friend : — 

"I am afraid you will be tired of 'Helen' before you 
become acquainted with her." 


She was then eagerly at work on it. In May she 
wrote of it again : — 

"I must tell you a curious instance of my wondrous 
good luck, or rather of the wonderful kindness and good- 
nature of people to a spoiled authoress. The very morn- 
ing that I heard from you about the hawking-scene, I 
received a huge letter in an old hand I had never seen 
before, a folio sheet and a half, giving me an account of 
the hawking-scenes the writer had witnessed at Lord 
Berners's, signed Elizabeth Wilson (sister to the present 
Lord Berners), Kirby Cave, Norfolk." 

The agency business often referred to may seem 
to have been a waste of time and energy ; but it 
gave Miss Edgeworth an interest in the poor peo- 
ple of the village, induced her to take more active 
walking exercise than she would otherwise have 
done, and unbent her mind, by giving her complete 
change of thought, and a practical object to relieve 
her imagination. She went with renewed energy 
and life from her accounts and practical affairs to 
the manuscript of "Helen." She never wrote with 
more spirit than when she had been engaged with 
the realities of life. 

In speaking of low spirits and their cause, about 
the time she was writing " Helen," Miss Edgeworth 
gave as her opinion that the best cure for depression 
of mind was to struggle against it by work ; quoting 
Bacon, who said, " To keep the mind in health, you 
must every day do something to which the mind is 
best, and something to which it is least disposed, so 
as to work out the knots and stones of the mind." 

" HELEN." 447 

When " Helen " was clone, it read to the 
famil}', who felt a deep interest in it. Miss Maiy 
Sneyd, the critic and corrector of proofs to many of 
Miss Edgeworth's works, was deeply touched by 
this story ; and the noble and very impressive end 
brought tears to the eyes of the listeners. The book 
was finished in the summer of 1833 ; and the manu- 
script was sent to Mr. Lockhart, who kindly under- 
took to negotiate with Bentley about its publication. 
INIiss Edgeworth left the business arrangements for 
it entirely to the judgment of Mr. Lockhart. 

Mrae. Belloc, who had translated " Harry and 
Lucy " and " Early Lessons " most acceptably, gladly 
received the offer of advance sheets of " Helen," and 
made an excellent translation of this book. Miss 
Edgeworth wrote of " Helen : " — 

"I should tell 3'ou beforehand, that there is no humor 
in it, and no Irish character. It is impossible to draw 
Ireland as she now is, in a book of fiction. Realities are 
too strong, party passions too violent, to bear to see, or 
care to look at, their faces in the looking-glass. The peo- 
ple would only break the glass, and curse the fool who 
held the mirror up to nature, — distorted nature in a fever. 
"We are in too perilous a case to laugh. Humor would 
be out of season, worse than bad taste. "Whenever the 
danger is past, as the man in the sonnet says, — 

'We may look back on the hardest part, aiid laugh.' 

" Then I shall be ready to join in the laugh. Sir Wal- 
ter Scott once said to me, ' Do explain to the public wliy 
Pat, who gets forward so well in other countries, is so 
miserable in his own.' A very difficult question, I fear 


above my power. But I shall thiuk coutiuually, and 
listen and look and read," 

The humor of ]\Iiss Edgeworth, a very remarkable 
attribute in a woman, was repressed in "Helen." 
She dared not laugh at Ireland. Cervantes " laughed 
Spain's chivalry away," said a writer, of " Don Qui- 
xote ; " and if laughing at the Irish could have cured 
them of their follies, errors, and improvidence, Miss 
Edgeworth had certainly done her best in her pre- 
vious works. "Helen" shows some defects in the 
construction of its plot, but none in the execution of 
the details. There is an ease, lightness of touch, a 
certain air about it, which makes it as interesting as 
any of her novels, and far more agreeable than those 
which are weighted with so much effort to work out 
a moral. " Helen " is not wanting in a high tone ; 
and the manner in which the untruthfulness of a 
society life is depicted, and the distress and suffering 
caused by one who evades or denies a fact, and makes 
an innocent friend the victim of a mistake of her 
own, is very interesting, and a valuable study. The 
character of Lady Davenant is one of great power, 
and shows the versatility, the grasp, of Miss Edge- 
worth's pen. The conversation of Lady Davenant 
in the pony-carriage with her young friend Helen 
is full of life and natural spirit. There is a reality 
and depth in this picture which will impress it 
strongly on the mind of the reader. There are 
among Miss Edgeworth's writings many fine pic- 
tures of women. She drew an Englishwoman of 
culture and high birth as finely as written words 

" HELEN." 449 

could describe the niceties of character. Who can 
forget a jNIrs. Ilungerford, Lady Delacoiir, Lady 
Davenant, Belinda, Caroline Percy, Helen, or Lady 
Cecilia Clarendon ? Her Mme. de Fleury, Emilie de 
Coulanges, and a host of minor characters, have 
made women of other nations as famous as her own. 
None exceed in delicacy of touch, depth of character, 
and a genuineness of nature the women of " Helen." 
The high-toned character of Lady Davenant, un- 
touched by the great world in which she has been 
long a moving power ; the charms, yet grave faults, 
of Lady Cecilia Clarendon ; the honest, sincere, yet 
3'ielding, nature of Helen ; the rugged and brusque 
bluntness of j\Iiss Clarendon, — all move before us 
in the mimic world of Clarendon Park ; and one feels 
as if, in laying down the book, a new set of friends 
had been added to his circle. The English reviews 
and magazines had good reviews of this novel. Li 
America, among many, there was a very excellent one 
by the Rev. W. B. O. Peabody, well known as a fine 
critic and scholar. 

Maria was much interested in reading the " Life 
of Mirabeau,"' and said : — 

" I have been excruciatinghj interested in the 'Memoirs 
of the Mirabeaus : ' that ouragan son and that iron father 
and that good 'jX(?e dliomme le bailU.' " 

She was especially interested in the history of 
]\Iirabeau because of M. Dumont's connection with 
him, which was always a mystery to her : they were 
men so very different in mind and morals. Mirabeau, 
a selfish voluptuary, with great mental powers, which 


occasionally gleam through a mist of sensuality, a 
master-mind, but degraded by low vices. Dumont, 
so pure-minded and single-hearted in his devotion to 
good, and spending his life in translating the code 
and essays of Jeremy Bentham, leaving only that as 
a monument to the future ; unselfishly ignoring his 
own wit and originalit}^ to perpetuate the fame of 

She embodies these views in " Helen," making one 
character say of Dumont's "Memoires de Mira- 
beau," — 

" This book, which I am reading, gives me infinitely 
increased pleasure from my certain knowledge, my perfect 
conviction, of the truth of the author. The self-evident 
nature of some of the facts would support themselves, 
you may say, in some instances ; but my perceiving the 
scrupulous care he takes to say no more than what he 
knows to be true, my perfect reliance on the relater's 
private character for integrity, give a zest to every anec- 
dote he tells, a specific weight to every word of conver- 
sation which he repeats, appropriate value to every trait 
of wit or humor characteristic of the person he describes." 

Another book which she read for a study of char- 
acter was the " Life of Savage ; " and, in speaking of 
style and its effects, Maria once said she thought 
" Johnson's ' Life of Savage ' the finest piece of biog- 
raphy I ever read, but the most dangerous ; attribut- 
ing his faults to his warmth of affection, telling of 
his ardent desire to catch his mother's shadow as she 
passed, when forbidden her presence, and certainly 
excusing his profligacy." 


In answer to an in(iuiry about one of the charac- 
ters in " Helen," slie wrote, — 

"Lady Davonant is not a portrait. I hope it may l)e 
calknl an invention of many ideas of individual characters 
iu one now wliole." 

In 1833 Sir Culling and Lady Smith visited Ire- 
land. Sir Culling, Maria described " as of old family, 
large fortune, and great philanthropy, extending to 
poor little Ireland, and her bogs, and her Connemara, 
and her penultimate barony of Ennis, and her ulti- 
mate Giant's Causeway, and her beautiful Lakes of 
Killarney." Lady Smith was Isabella Carr, daughter 
of the Edgeworths' old friends at Hampstcad, a very 
charming woman. She had with her a nurse and 
infant. Maria was very anxious to see Connemara, 
and they were delighted to have her offer to go with 
them. An account of their journey would fill many 
pages. They went to Ballinasloe and Connemara 
early in October, leaving the child at Edgeworths- 
town. The adventures and difficulties they encoun- 
tered were many, and culminated in the detention of 
the party for three weeks, for a severe illness of Lady 
Smith, at the house of Mr. Martin, Ballinahinch Cas- 
tle. They saw cattle-fairs, bogs with treacherous, 
quaking holes, no roads worthy of the name, and 
finally, after their detention, got "safe out" of Con- 
nemara, seeing Ballymahon, Athlone, and Galway. 
Miss Edgeworth made the best of the disagreeables 
of the journey, and found a warm friend in IVIrs. 
Martin ; saying what " an extraordinary thing it was 
to have made a new friend at sixty-six years of age." 


In speaking of Irish words and English expres- 
sions, she once said how much she alwa3's disliked 
the word " satiety ; " because her hither " laughed her 
to scorn, when she was thirteen, for pronouncing it 
'sashaty'" in imitation of Mr. Day, with whom she 
had been visiting. 

Sir Walter Scott, in passing Edge worth stown this 
year, did not forget his friends there ; for he saluted 
them with his regimental band before breakfast. 
And, speaking of the incident. Miss Edgeworth re- 
called the saying of the man to Bonaparte, "Sire, il 
n'y a de circonstance oii on ne prend pas de de- 

In writing in 1834, Miss Edgeworth alluded to a 
tale called " ' Bob, the Chimney-S weeper,' which was 
written several years before, but laid by for the pres- 
ent, unfinished ; " and she probably never felt suffi- 
cient interest in it to take it up again. 

Miss Edgeworth was much pleased with the advent 
of a new writer. Miss Murphy (Mrs. Jameson), now 
married to a very clever lawyer. She says " all the 
woes and heart-breakings are mere fables in the 
Diary." At this time Mrs. Jameson had not sepa- 
rated from her husband ; and she was known by her 
"Female Characters of Shakspeare," and the "Diary 
of an Ennuyee." 

Miss Edgeworth was much interested in meeting 
with a character of Chillingworth, which was so 
much like her " own first idea of Beauclerc's charac- 
ter (in 'Helen '), made incapable of decision or action 
by seeing too many arguments too nicely balanced 
on both sides of every question, that," she adds 

" HELEN." 453 

she "could hardly help fancying" she "had stolen 

After the publication of " Helen," which was re- 
ceived with much pleasure by the public, and kindly 
noticed by the critics, Miss Edgeworlh had many 
letters of admiration, criticism, and comment from 
her friends. 

Mrs. Stark, the friend of Miss Edgeworth, received 
a long" letter of twenty-eight pages from her cousin, 
Col. Mathew Stewart, son of Dugald Stewart, wlio 
had been reading " Helen." Mrs. Stark wrote Miss 
Edgeworth about Col. Stewart's letter; and she 
asked her to let her read it, which she did. Miss 
Edgeworth said, — 

" I am sure I have great reason to be proud, as I am, 
that such a person as Col. Stewart should have thought 
it worth his while to write all this." 

And, after reading this letter carefully, she replied 
to Mrs. Stark in another long letter ; which contains 
so much that is interesting to the reader in reference 
to her methods of work, and her modes of thought 
and study, that most of it is given here. 

She says, after some preliminary remarks, — 

" Such a writer, and such a noble mind as Col. Stew- 
art's, haviug bestowed so much thought and time upon 
me and my fictions, raises them and myself in m}' own 
opinion far more than could the largest ' draught of un- 
qualified praise ' from any common critic. From feeling 
that he does justice in many points to the past, I rely 
upon his prophecies as to the future ; and I feel my 
ambition strongly excited by his belief that I can, and his 


prognostic that I shall, do better hereafter. Boileau says, 
' Trust a critic who puts his finger at once upon what you 
know to be j^our infirm part.' I had often thought and 
said to myself some of those things which Col. Stewart 
has written, but never so strongly expressed, so fully 
brought home : my own rod of feathers did not do my 
business. I had often and often a suspicion that my 
manner was too Dutch, too minute, and very, very often, 
and warmly, admired the bold, graced style of the master 
liand and master genius. I 1:11010 I feel hovr much more 
is to he done, ought to he done, by suggestion than l)y 
delineation, by creative fancy than by facsimile copying ; 
how much more by skilful selection and fresh, consistent 
combination, than can be effected by the most acute 
observation of individuals, or diligent accumulation of 

' ' But where I have erred or fallen short of what is 
thought I might have done, it lias not been from ' draw- 
ing from the life or from individuals, or from putting 
actions or sayings noted in commonplace books, from 
observation or hearsay in society.' I have seldom or 
ever drawn any one character — certainly not any ridicu- 
lous or faulty character — from any individual. AYlier- 
ever, in writing, a real character rose to my view, from 
memory or resemblance, it has always been hurtful to me ; 
because, to avoid that resemblance, I was tempted by cow- 
ardice or compelled by conscience to throw in differences, 
which often ended in making my character inconsistent, 

"At the hazard of talking too much of myself, which 
people usually do when once they begin, I must tell my 
penetrating critic exactly the facts, as far as I know 
them, about my hahits of composition. He will at least 
see, by my throwing open my mmd thus, that he has not 


made mc afraid of liiiii, but has won my confidence, and 
made me look for his future sympathy and assistance. I 
have no ' vast magazine of a connnoni)lace hook.' In my 
whole life, since I began to write, — which is now, 1 am 
concerned to state, upwards of forty years, — I have had 
only about half a dozen little note-books, strangely and 
irregularly kept, sometimes with only words of reference 
to some book or fact I could not Ijring accurately to 
mind. At fu'st I was much urged by my father to note 
down remarkable traits of character, or incidents, which 
he thought might be introduced in stories ; and he often 
blamed that idleness or laziness, as he thought it in me, 
which resisted his urgency. But I was averse to noting 
down, because I was conscious that it did better for me 
to keep the things in my head if they suited my purpose ; 
and if they did not, they would only encumber me. I 
knew that when I wrote down I put the thing out of my 
care, out of my head ; and that, though it might be put 
by very safe, I should not know where to look for it ; that 
the labor of looking over a note-book would never do 
when I was in the warmth and pleasure of inventing ; 
that I should never recollect the facts or ideas at the right 
time if I did not put them up in my own way, in my 
own head : that is, if I felt with hope or pleasure, ' that 
thought or that fact will be useful to me in such a charac- 
ter or story, of which I have now a first idea, the same 
fact or thought would recur, I knew, when I wanted it, 
in right order for invention.' In short, ' as Col. Stewart 
guessed,' the process of combination, generalization, in- 
vention, was carried on always in my head best. Wher- 
ever I brought in bodihj, unaltered, as I have sometimes 
done, facts from real life, or sayings or recorded obser- 
vations of my own, I have almost always found them 
objected to by good critics as unsuited to the character, 


or in some way de trap. Two instances I remember at 
this instant, — two witticisms which were put into the 
mouth of Grace Nugent, in ' The Absentee,' first edition, 
and taken out in the second, from the conviction of their 
being inconsistent with her character. Sometimes, when 
the first idea of a character was taken from life, from 
some ORIGINAL, and the characteristic facts noted down, 
or even noted only in my head, I have found it neces- 
sary entirely to alter these ; not only from propriety, to 
avoid individual resemblances, but from the sense that 
the character would be only an exception to general 
feeling and experience, not a rule. (In short, exactly 
what Col. Stewart says about ' the conical hills ' being the 
worst subjects for painters.) As an instance, I may 
mention King Corny, who is, I believe, considered more 
of a fairy piece, more as a romantic character, than my 
usual common-life Dutch figures : the first idea of him 
was taken from the facts I heard of au oddity, a man, I 
believe, like no other, who lived in a remote part of 
Ireland ; an ingenious despot in his own family, who 
blasted out of the rock on which his house was built half 
a kitcheu, while he and family and guests were living in 
the house ; who was so passionate, that children, grown- 
up sons, servants, and all, ran out of the house at ouce 
when he fell into a passion with his own tangled hair ; a 
man who used, in his impatience and rages, to call at the 
head of the kitchen stairs to his servants, ' Drop what- 
ever you have in your hand, and come here and be 
d — d ! ' He was generous and kind-hearted, but des- 
potic and conceited to the ludicrous degree ; for instance, 
he thought he could work Gobelin tapestry, and play on 
the harp or mandolin, better than any one living. 

' ' One after another, in working out King Corny, from 
the first wrong hint, I was obliged to give up every fact, 


except tliat ho pioppod up tlio roof of liis house, and built 
downwards ; and to generalize all, to make him a man of 
expcdit'iits, of inrrenious substitutes, such as any clever 
Irishman in middle life is used to, I was obliged to re- 
tain, but soften, the despotism, and exalt the generosity, 
to make it a character that would interest. Not one word 
I ever heard said by the living man, or had ever heard 
repeated of his saying, except 'Drop what you have,' 
etc., went into my King Corny 's mouth, — would not 
have suited him. I was obliged to make him according 
to the general standard of wit and acuteness, shrewd 
humor and sarcasm, of that class of unread natural 
geniuses ; an over-match for Sir Ulick, who is of a more 
cultivated class of acute and roguish Irish gentlemen. 

"Has Col. Stewart ever read 'Castle Kackreut ' ? I 
should like to know whether he would guess that any of 
the characters in that book were drawn from life, with 
what he calls colors from the life, or not. The only char- 
acter drawn from the life in ' Castle Rackrent ' is Thady 
himself, the teller of the story. He was an old steward 
(not very old, though, at that time : I added to his age, 
to allow him time for the generations of the family) . I 
heard him when I first came to Ireland, and his dialect 
struck me, and his character ; and I became so acquainted 
with it, that I could think and speak in it without effort : 
so that when, for mere amusement, without any idea of 
publishing, I began to write a family history as Thady 
would tell it, he seemed to stand beside me and dictate ; 
and I wrote as fast as my pen could go, the characters all 
imaginary. Of course they must have Ijcen compounded 
of persons I had seen, or incidents 1 had heard ; but how 
com[)ouudod I do not know. Not by ' long forethought,' 
for I had never thought of them till I began to write, and 
had made no sort of plan, sketch, or framework. There 


is a, fact inciitioucd in a note of Lady Catheart liaving 
been shut up by her husband, Mr. McGuire, in a house in 
this neighborliood. So much I knew, but the characters 
are totally different from what I had heard. Indeed, the 
real people had been so long dead that little was known 
of them. Mr. McGuire had no resemblance, at all events, 
to my Sir Kit ; and I knew nothing of Lady Catheart, but 
that she was fond of money, and would not give up her 
diamonds. Sir Condy's history was added two years 
afterwards : it was not drawn from life, but the good- 
natured and indolent extravagance was suggested by a 
relative of mine, long since dead. All the incidents, pure 
invention ; the duty work and duty fowls were facts. 

"A curious fact, that where I least aimed at drawing 
characters, 1 succeeded best. As far as I have heard, the 
characters in ' Castle Rackrent ' were in their day consid- 
ered as better classes of Irish characters than any I ever 
drew ; they cost me no trouble, and were made by no re- 
ceipt^ or thought of ' philosophical classification : ' there 
was literally not a correction, not an alteration, made in 
the first writing, no copy, and, as I recollect, no interline- 
ation ; it went to the press just as it was written. Other 
stories I have corrected with the greatest care, and re- 
modelled and re-written. 

"Sir Terence O'Fay in 'The Absentee,' who was a 
favorite with Sir Walter Scott, and who is, I think, a rep- 
resentative of a class then existing in Ireland, was like- 
wise written off, not philosophically constructed. "While I 
was writing him, I always saw him and heard him speak : 
he was an individual to me. If I had been thinking of 
' classification,' I don't think I should have believed in his 
real existence. As far as I have heard, he has impressed 
readers with the idea of his being a reality : yet certainly 
I had no living model, though introducing several com- 


pounded ' incidents ; ' for instance, hiding the family plate, 
and eheatiug about the horse Naboehlish. . . . 

"• I never eould use notes in writing dialogues. It would 
have l)een as iini)ossil)le to me to get in tlie prepared good 
things at the right moment, in the warmth of writing con- 
versation, as it would be to lug them in in real conversa- 
tion : perhaps more so, for I could not write dialogues at 
all without being at the time fully impressed with the 
characters, imagining myself each speaker ; and that too 
fully engrossed the imagination to leave time for consult- 
ing note-books : the whole fairy vision would melt away, 
and the pleasure of invention be gone. I might often, 
while writing, recollect from books or life what would 
suit, and often from note-books ; but then I could not 
stop to look, and often quoted therefore inaccurately. I 
have a quick recoUective memory, and retentive for the 
sort of things I particularly want, — they will recur to me at 
the moment I want them, years and years after they have 
lain dormant, — but, alas! my memory is inaccurate, has 
hold of the object only by one side, the side or face that 
struck my imagination ; and if I want more afteinvards I 
do not know even where to look for it. I mention this be- 
cause Dugald Stewart once was curious to know what sort 
of memory I had, whether recoUective or retentive. . . . 

"In every story (except 'Rackrent') which I ever 
wrote, I have always drawn out a sketch, a framework. 
All these are in existence ; and I have lately compared 
many of the printed stories with them, some strangely 
altered, by the way. In the sketch of ' Helen ' I had not 
the judgment I formerly had to see if the anatomy was 
correct. I have the sketch now before me. . . . Here are 
the very words of my first sketch. . . . ' The general, not 
a man of genius or of literary distinction, but of great de- 
cision, strength of mind, resolution, some think obstinacy ; 


high honor, high breeding, all the qualities that win and 
keep woman's love.' 

" lu the sketch of Beauclerc, I find these words, — 'Ar- 
istocratic, ambitious, tinged with the faults of his class ; ' 
and afterwards a sketch of faults which 1 supposed to 
arise from his college education, and ' too metaphysical 
reading, and too much speculative refinement, irresolu- 
tion, thence ennui.' All this, you see, aimed at a class 
of characters : but unluckily I had not time or room in 
this story to develop him ; he sank into a mere lover. 
Unfortunately I have not at this moment in my possession 
the third volume of Stewart's ' Philosoph}^ of the Human 
Mind on Intellectual Character,' to which Col. Stewart 
refers me : I have sent for it, but it is not to be had in 
Duljlin, and I have waited too long for it from London ; 
and now I am sorry I must finish this letter without see- 
ing it. What Col. Stewart has said already impressed 
upon my mind the necessity of more strongly marking 
the great lines of character by which readers are to under- 
stand and recognize the class, the meaning, of characters : 
but I must acknowledge that I do not feel sure that strict 
attention to classification would do me good ; I am not 
sure that this would add to the life, the interest. There 
are little touches of inconsistency, which mark reality ; for 
human nature is really inconsistent. And there are excej)- 
tions, as in grammar rules ; and these exceptions, which 
in characters we call oddities, form, as it were, new rudi- 
ments for fresh future classes. It would not be according 
to Bacon's rules of philosophizing, to limit the number of 
classes; there being arl)itrary distinctions formed from 
observation of particulars : then fresh particulars, if true, 
must be admitted. ... I acknowledge that even a per- 
fectly true character, absolutely taken as a facsimile from 
real life, would not be interesting in a fiction, miglit not 


be believed, and could not be useful. The value of these 
odd characters depends, I acknowledge, upon their being 
actually known to be true. In histor}', extraordinary 
characters ahva3's interest us with all their inconsistencies, 
feeling we thus add to our actual knowledge of Innniin 
nature. In liction, we have not this conviction, and there- 
fore not this sort or source of pleasure, even if ever so 
well done : if it be quite a new inconsistency we feel 
doubtful and averse, but we submit when we know it is 
true. We say, ' Don't therefore tell me it is not in 
human nature.' 

. . . "I feel and understand how many poets and 
novelists have raised in the mind that sort of enthusiasm 
which exalts and purifies the soul. Happy, and gifted 
with Heaven's best gift, must be the poet, the inventor of 
any sort of fiction, that can raise this enthusiasm. I rec- 
ollect Mrs. Barbauld's lines describing, — 

' Generous youth that feeds 
On pictured tales of vast heroic deeds.' 

"How I wish I could furnish, as Scott has, some of 
those pictured tales colored to the life ! But I fear I have 
not that power : therefore it is perhaps that I strive to 
console myself for my deficiencies, by flattering myself 
that there is much, though not such glorious, use in 
my own lesser manner and department. The great vir- 
tues, the great vices, excite strong enthusiasm, vehement 
honor ; but, after all, it is not so necessary to warn the 
generality against these, either by precept or example, as 
against the lesser faults. AVe are all sufficiently aware 
that we must not break the Commandiuents ; and the 
reasons against all vices, all feel, even to the force of 
demonstration : but demonstration does not need, and 


cannot receive, additional force from fiction. The old 
Bailey trials, Les Causes Celdbres, come with more force, 
as with the force of actual truth, than can any of the 
finest fictions. 

. . . "Few readers do, or can, put themselves in the 
places of great criminals, or fear to yield to such and 
such temptations. They know that they cannot fall to the 
depth of evil at once, and they have no sj-mpathy, no 
fear: their spirits are not 'put in the act of falling.' 
But show them the steep path, the little declivity at first, 
the step by step downwards ; and they tremble. Show 
them the postern-gates, or little breaches in their citadel 
of virtue ; and they fly to guard these. In short, show to 
them their own little faults which may lead on to the 
greatest, and they shudder ; that is, if this be done with 
truth, and brought home to their consciousness. This is 
all which, by reflection on my own mind, and comparison 
with others aud with records in books, full as much as ob- 
servations on living subjects, I feel or fancy I have some- 
times done or can do. But while I am thus ladling out 
praise to myself in this way, I do not flatter myself that 
I deserve the quantity of praise which Col. Stewart gives 
me, for laborious observation, or for steadiness and nicety 
of dissection. My father, to whose judgment I habitually 
refer to help out my own judgment of myself, and who 
certainly must from long acquaintance, to say no more, 
have known my character better than any other person 
can, always reproached me for trusting too much to my 
hasty glances — apergus, as he called them — of character 
or truths. And often have I had, and have still (past 
my grand climacteric) , to repent every day my mistaken 
conclusions and hasty^ jumps to conclusions. Perhaps 
you wish I should jump to conclusion now, and so I 

" HELEN." 463 

The remarks made by Col. Stewart about the 
inconsistency of the characters of Miss Edgeworth's 
" Helen " were not considered just by Cajot. Hall 
and many of her other friends, who entirely differed 
from him in his opinion. They expressed themselves 
as being much impressed with the reality of the 
book, and its fidelity to life. 

" Helen " was widely read by the most intelligent 
and cultivated people, and made the subject of much 
comment. H. F. Chorley, in his " Autobiography," 
says, "The delight and culture to be gained by 
standing as a background figure in such circles 
[meaning among highly gifted people] cannot be 
overrated. Well has Miss Edgeworth remarked, in 
her ' Helen,' that there is a time in every man's life 
when such experiences are of priceless value ; " and 
he adds that Barry Cornwall and Basil Montague 
are among the characters of "Helen." 

" The Dublin University Magazine " says, — 

" Our eyes were gladdened by the appearance of a new 
novel from the pen of Miss Edgeworth. Dear, precious 
Maria Edgeworth ! We felt the sound of her name hke 
the return of spring, and have looked upon her pages 
with the eager dehght with which we should greet the 
approach of a long-lost acquaintance." 

Such words, such greetings, from all were most 
cheering to the author, who again appeared before 
the public, which was no slight ordeal, after so many 
years of silence. Years that had changed much, 
new generations of readers, and modern novels, had 
not supplanted the well-earned fame of Miss Edge- 


worth. She was favored with a genuine ovation 
from the best and brightest minds of Great Britain 
and America. 

In 1835 Miss Mary Sneyd, who was a very old 
lady, had a dangerous illness ; but she recovered, 
and survived a few years longer, to brighten the 
home at Edgeworthstown, where she had lived for 
so long. 



Visit of the Ticknors to Edgeworthstown. — Remarks of Maria.— 
Letter to W. B. O. Peahody, — Mrs. Farrar's Visit to Maria.— 
Condition of Ireland at this Time. — Mr. Sprague's Sketch of his 
Day ^vith Maria. —Leigh Hunt's "Blue-Stocking Revels." — 
Southey. — A Visit to England. — Mrs. Sigourney's Meeting with 
Miss Edgeworth. — Maria made Honorary Member of the Royal 
Irish Society. — Hall's Account of Edgeworthstown and the 
Family. — A Visit to Maria. — Impressions of Maria's Home Life. 

Mr. George Ticknor,i accompaDied by his 
family, visited Edgeworthstown in 1835; and some 
extracts from his journal will interest the American 
readers ; — 

^^ Aug. 21. — We set out pretty early this morning to 
make a visit, by invitation, to the Edgeworths, at Edge- 
worthstown, sixty-five English miles from Dublin. . . . 

"At last we approached the house. There was no 
mistaking it. "We had seen none such for a long time. 
It is spacious, with an ample veranda and conservatory 
covering part of its front quite beautifully, and situated 
in a fine lawn of the richest green, interspersed with 
clumps of venerable oaks and beeches. As we drove to 
the door, Miss Edgeworth came out to meet us, — a small, 
short, spare lady of about sixty-seven, with extremely 
frank and kind manners, and who always looks straight 

1 Professor of Modern Literatiire, Harvard University, author of 
History of Spanish Literature, and other works: born in Boston 
1791; died 1871. 


into your face with a pair of mild, deep gray eyes, when- 
ever she speaks to you. With her characteristic direct- 
ness, she did not take us into the library until she had 
told us that we should find there Mrs. Alison of Edin- 
burgh, and her aunt. Miss Sneyd, a person very old and 
infirm ; and that the only other persons constituting the 
family were Mrs. Edgeworth, Miss Honora Edgeworth, 
and Dr. Alison, a physician, and son of the author on 
'Taste.' Having thus put us en pays de connaissance, 
she carried us into the library. It is quite a large room, 
full of books, and every way comfortable as a sitting- 
room. We had not been there five minutes, before we 
were, by her kindness and vivacity, put completely at our 
ease ; a sensation which we do not seem likely to lose 
during our visit. Soon after we were seated, and had 
become a little acquainted with Mrs. Alison, — who is a 
daughter of the famous Dr. Gregory, — the rest of the 
party came in from a drive. 

" Mrs. Edgeworth, who is of the Beaufort family, seems 
about the age of her more distinguished step-daughter, 
and is somewhat stout, but very active, intelligent, and 
accomplished ; having apparently the whole care of the 
household, and adding materially, by her resources in the 
arts and in literature, to its agreeableness. . . . 

"It is plain they make a harmonious whole; and, by 
those who visited here when the family was much larger, 
and composed of the children of all the wives of Mr. 
Edgeworth, with their connections produced by marriage, 
so as to form the most heterogeneous relationships, I am 
told there was always the same very striking union and 
agreeable intercourse among them all, to the number 
sometimes of fifteen or twenty. . . . 

"After sittmg about an hour in the library ... we 
went to dress, and punctually at half -past six were sum- 


monod h}' the l)ell to dinner. ... At half-past eight we 
rejoined tlie hulies in tlie library, which seems to be the 
only sitting-roora ; at nine we had tea and coffee, and at 
half-past ten went to bed. . . . What has struck me 
most to-day in Miss Edgeworth herself is, her uncommon 
quickness of perception, her fertility of allusion, and the 
great resources of fact which a remarkable memory sup- 
plies to her, combined into a whole which I can call noth- 
ing else but extraordinary vivacity. She certainly talks 
quite as well as Lady Delacour or Lady Davenant, and 
much in the style of both of them, though more in that 
of Lady Davenant. . . . 

'■''Aug. 22. — It has been a rainy day to-day. "VVe 
did not really separate during the whole day, from break- 
fast, at nine, until bedtime, half after eleven. The whole 
time was passed in the library ; except the breakfast, 
which was protracted to an hour's length by sitting round 
the table ; lunch, which is really the dinner of most peo- 
ple ;.. . and dinner itself, from half-past six to half- 
past eight. 

"Miss Edgeworth's conversation was always ready, 
and as full of vivacity and variety as I can imagine. It 
was, too, no less full of good-nature. She was disposed 
to defend everybody, even Lady Morgan, as far as she 
could, though never so far as to be unreasonable. And in 
her intercourse with her family she was quite delightful ; 
referring constantly to Mrs. Edgeworth, who seems to be 
the authority in all matters of fact, and most kindly 
repeating jokes to her infirm aunt. Miss Sneyd, who can- 
not hear them, and who seems to have for her the most 
unbounded affection and admn-atiou. 

"About herself, as an author, she seems to have no 
reserve or secrets. She spoke with great kindness and 
pleasure of a letter I brought to her from Mr. Pea- 


bodjs^ explaining some passage in his review of ' Helen,' 
which had troubled her from its allusion to her father ; 
' but,' she added, 'nobody can know what I owe to my 
father : he advised and directed me in every thing ; I 
never could have done any thing without him. These 
are things I cannot be mistaken about, though other 
people can, — I knoiv them.' As she said this the tears 
stood in her eyes, and her whole person was moved. 

"Of 'Helen,' she said that it was a recent conception 
altogether, first imagined about two years before it was 
printed. The Collingwoods, she said, were a clumsy 
part of it: she put them in, thinking to make something 
of them, but was disappointed, and there they stuck ; she 
could not get them out again. Many parts of it were 
much altered : two only were printed just as they were 
first put on paper, with hardly the correction of a word, 
— Lady Davenaut's conversation with Helen in the pony 
phaeton, and Lady Cecilia's conversation with Helen 
towards the end, telling her all that had happened during 
their separation. These two portions she said she dic- 
tated to her sister Lucy, whom she represented to be a 
person of sure taste. She dictated these particular pas- 
sages because, as they were to represent narrative conver- 
sation, she thought this mode of composing them would 
give them a more natural air ; and whenever her sister's 
pen hesitated, she altered the word at once. ' So,' said 
she, ' all that turned out right ; and I was very glad of it, 
for Lucy's sake as well as my own.' 

"'Taking for Granted,' she told me, was sketched 
very roughly about fifteen years ago ; and she is now 
employed in working it entirely over again, and bringing 
it out. She was curious to know what instances I had 

1 W. B. O. Peabody, clergyman, accomplished scholar, and poet. 
Born 1799, died 1847. 


ever witnessed of persons suffering from ' taking for 
granted ' what proved false, and desired me quite ear- 
nestly, and many times, to write to her about it ; ' for,' 
she added, ' you would be surprised if you knew how 
much I pick up in this way.' — 'The story,' she said, 
' must begin lightly, and the early instances of mistake 
might be comic; but it must end tragically.' I told her 
I was sorry for it. ' Well,' said she, ' I can't help it : it 
must be so. The best I can do for you, is to leave it 
quite uncertain whether it is possible the man who is to 
be my victim can ever be happy again or not. ' 

"But neither 'Helen' nor 'Taking for Granted,' she 
said, is the subject she should be glad to write about, 
and write about with the most interest. It is something 
connected with the religious and political parties that are 
ruining Ireland, 'my poor Ireland.' — 'But,' she went 
on, 'it won't do. Few would listen, and those that would 
listen would do it to serve their own purposes. It won't 
do ; and I am sorry for it, very sorry. ' 

' ' But, though she talked thus freely about herself and 
her works, she never introduced the subject, and never 
seemed glad to continue it. She talked quite as well, 
and with quite as much interest, on every thing else. 
Indeed, though I watched carefully for it, I could not 
detect, on the one side, any of the mystification of au- 
thorship, nor, on the other, any of its vanity. . . . The 
sustained tone of conversation, however, with her un- 
quenchable vivacity, was, I think, — continued as it was 
through so long a day, — a little fatiguing to her. She 
was just the same to the last moment, just as quick in 
repartee, and just as gay in her allusions and remarks ; 
but her countenance showed that her physical strength 
was hardly equal to it. Indeed, she is of a feeble con- 
stitution naturally, though for the last two years she has 


gained strength. It was, therefore, something of a trial 
to talk so brilliantly and variously as she did, from nine 
in the morning till past eleven at night. 

'-'■ Sunday, Aug. 23. — To-day was more quiet; not 
less interesting or agreeable than yesterday, but less 
exciting. We went to church with the family, who all 
seemed Episcopalians in principle and practice. Miss 
Edgeworth carried her favorite prayer-book in a nice 
case, and knelt and made all the responses very devoutly. 
The church is small, but neat ; and their pew is the place 
of honor in it, with a canopy and recess as large as any 
two other pews. . . . On one side of the altar was a 
small, plain, oval tablet, to the memory of their grand- 
father, bearing no inscription but his name, and the time 
of his birth and death ; and on tlie other side was one 
exactly like it, . . . to their father, who died in 1817. 
The whole had the air of decency and reverence that 
ought always to be found in a village church ; but the 
sermon was Calvinistic, from a young man, and the con- 
gregation very small, making a striking contrast to the 
congregation which poured out from the Catholic chapel 
in the neighborhood, so as to fill and throng the high- 

' ' The Edgeworths have always been on the most 
kindly terms with their Catholic neighbors and tenantry. 
But, like many other Protestants whom I have met, they 
feel rather uncomfortably at the encroaching spirit which 
the Emancipation Bill has awakened in the whole Catho- 
lic population of the island, and the exclusive character 
and tone assumed by the priests, who have every day, as 
they assure me, more and more the air of claiming supe- 
riority ; especially where, as in the case of Edgeworths- 
town, the old priests have been removed, and Jesuits 
placed in their stead. 

MR. ticknoe's visit. 471 

"After lunch — there is only one service in the 
church — Miss Edgeworth showed me a good many 
curious letters from Dumont, — one in particular, giving 
an account of Mme. de Staiil's visit, in 1813, to Lord 
Lansdowne at Bowood, for a week, when Mackintosh, 
Romilly, Schlegel, Rogers, and a quantity more of dis- 
tinguished people, were there ; but Miss Edgeworth de- 
clined, not feeling apparently willing to live in a state of 
continual exhibition for so long a time. It was, how- 
ever, very brilliant, and was most brilliantly described by 
Dumont. One thing amused me very much. Mme. de 
Stael, who had just been reading the 'Tales of Fash- 
ionable Life,'— then recently published, — with great 
admiration, said to Dumont of Miss Edgeworth, 'Vrai- 
ment elle etait digne de I'enthousiasme, mais elle se perd 
dans votre triste utility.' It seemed to delight Miss 
Edgeworth excessively, and it was to show me this that 
she looked up the letters. 

' ' In the evening she showed me her long correspond- 
ence with Sir Walter Scott, — at least his part of it. 
When she was in Edinburgh, in 1823, Lady Scott ex- 
pressed her surprise that Scott and Miss Edgeworth had 
not met when Miss Edgeworth was in Edinburgh in 1803. 
' AYhy,' said Sir Walter, with one of his queer looks, ' you 
forget, my dear, Miss Edgeworth was not a lion then ; 
and my mane, you know, was not grown at all.' She 
told many stories of him ; all showing an admiration for 
him, and a personal interest in him and his fame, which 
it was delightful to witness in the only person that could 
have been fancied his rival. During the evening she 
was very agreeable, and in the latter part of it very 
brilliant with repartee ; so that we sat late together, not 
separating until midnight. Every thing shows that her 
mind is as active, and as capable of producing 'Ennui,' 


or 'The Absentee,' now, as at any previous period. In 
fact, ' Helen ' proves it. 

'■'■Aug. 24. — Tlie house and many of its arrange- 
ments — the bells, the doors, etc. — bear witness to that 
love of mechanical trifling of which Mr. Edgeworth was 
so often accused. It was only this morning that I fully 
learnt how to open, shut, and lock our chamber-door; 
and the dressing-glass, at which I have shaved for three 
mornings, is somewhat of a mystery to me still. Things 
are in general very convenient and comfortable through 
the house ; though, as elsewhere in Ireland, there is a 
want of English exactness and finish. However, all such 
matters, even if carried much farther than they are, 
would be mere trifles in the midst of so much kindness, 
hospitality, and intellectual pleasures of the highest or- 
der, as we enjoyed under their roof ; where hospitality is 
so abundant that they have often had twenty or thirty 
friends come upon them unexpectedly, when the family 
was much larger than it is now." 

The pleasure of this visit was evidently mutual; 
for Miss Edgeworth wrote of how much she was 
gratified by the visit, and interested in INIr. Ticknor's 
fine mind and conversation. After ISIr. Ticknor's 
visit to Ireland in 1835, Miss Edgeworth wrote a 
friend : — 

" I have been acquainted, and I may say intimately, 
with some of the most distinguished literary persons in 
Great Britain, France, and Switzerland, and have seen 
and heard all those distinguished for conversational talents, 
— Talleyrand, Dumont, Mackintosh, Romilly, Dugald 
Stewart, Erskine, vSir Walter Scott, Sydney Smith, and 
Mr. Sharpe, the fashionable dinner-lions of London. I 
have passed days in the country-houses and in the do- 


mestic intimacy of some of them : and after all I can, with 
strict truth, assure you that Mr. Tieknor's conversation ap- 
peared to me fully on an equality with the most admired, 
in happ3% ai)posite readiness of recollectiou and apprecia- 
tion of knowledge, in stores of anecdotes, and in ease in 
l)rodueing them ; and in depths of reflection not inferior 
to those we have been accustomed to consider our deepest 
thinkers. But what interested and attracted us was the 
character of Mr. Tickuor, the moral worth and truth which 
we saw in him. We feel that we have made a friend in 

Miss Edgeworth was always pleased to make 
friends ; but she had not that disagreeable character- 
istic of modern literary j)eople, — a desire to meet new 
people, and make new conquests, and an inordinate 
capacity for being bored by old friends, who were 
not literary, or sufficiently useful in heli)ing one on 
in a career. Her affectionate heart was as strong an 
element of character as her clear, active brain. In 
1836 she wrote : — 

" In this world in which I have lived nearly three-quar- 
ters of a century, I have found nothing one quarter so 
well worth living for as old friends." 

The following letter to Mr. Peabody will serve to 
show the amiable and sincere nature of Maria. She 
felt pained by something he had written; but on 
receiving, through Professor Ticknor, an assurance 
that his allusion in the review of " Helen " had been 
misunderstood by her, she hastened to reply to his 
kind letter in these words : — 


Edgeworthstown, Sept. 4, 1835. 

Dear Sir, — I have received the very kind and candid 
letter whicli you sent me by Mr. Ticknor ; and, believe 
me, whatever pain I felt has been effaced ; and a sense of 
gratitude and of esteem for your candor and your human- 
ity and politeness will remain, as long as I live, in my mind. 

Last February I wrote to you, expressing the satisfac- 
tion I had felt, both for your sake and my own, in reading 
a very candid and nol)le-miuded letter of yours addressed 
to the ex-governor Winthrop, which he forwarded to me. 
Candor is not always united with the highest literary tal- 
ents. Unfortunately, the habit of literary warfare, and 
the necessity, as some narrow minds feel it, of supporting 
an opinion once expressed, make this virtue of candor 
very rare. We the more esteem it whenever it coura- 
geously appears. I beg you to believe, sir, that, inde- 
pendently of the grateful feelings which you have raised 
in my mind on my father's account and my own, I have 
a just sense of your conduct as a pulilic character, as a 
judge of moral as well as literary worth ; and I appreciate 
your feelings as those of a true gentleman. It will give 
me great pleasure to see a review by you of " Professional 

When I wrote to you last February, I at the same time 
Tfrote orders to a bookseller in London to forward to you, 
by means of my friend Mr. Gerald Ralstone, a copy of 
my father's "Professional Education," his "Essay on 
Roads and Wheel-Carriages," and his "Essay on the 
(sic) Tellograph." I hope these reached you from me, 
as tokens of my respect and regard. I presume you have 
my father's (sic) mem", or would have sent them. If 
there are any other books of ours, or of any other English 
author, which j^ou wish to have, I should have pleasure 
in sending them to you ; and I can easily find ways and 


means : good-will is very expert and efficient at that 
work. I wish you to know, sir (and I hope it is from 
proper, not improper, pride the wish arises), that I never, 
in the whole course of my life, remonstrated against 
criticism, or took any notice of attacks made in reviews 
upon my father or mj'self ; but I was persuaded that you, 
from the whole tone of 3'our publication, and of the arti- 
cle in which you mentioned my father, were only under 
error, and not willing to wound. Therefore I expressed 
my sentiments in a private letter to a friend, and was 
desirous that you should be thoroughly informed and set 
right, believing that you would act as you have done. 

You mentioned, with becoming indignation, a certain 
review, pulilished foui'teen years ago, on my father's 
memoirs. The honest warmth of your expression, a 
" brutal revietv," roused my curiosity. I had never read 
it. At the time it came out my friends advised me not to 
look at it ; assuring me that it was not worth my while 
to read, or theirs to answer it. I had determined never 
to answer any literary attacks ; and I was assured by 
those on whom I could best depend, that this, from its 
malignancy, and from its total want of merit of any kind, 
would do no injury to my father's memory. I never read 
the review till a few weeks ago, and then it was in conse- 
quence of your mention of it. 

I rejoice now that I did not read it at the time. It came 
out so soon after my father's death, I might have been 
hurt by it, and might have been urged by the feelings of 
the moment to reply, and thus have prevented it from 
falling into that public contempt in which it has sunk. 

Were it at all worth while, I could give you, sir, for 
your private satisfaction, irrefragable proof of the false- 
hood of many of the assertions made by that anonymous 
writer. But I trust that it is unnecessary. 


We have had great pleasure in seeing here your accom- 
plished and amiable countryman, Mr. Ticknor, — and 
Mrs. Ticknor, worthy of him ; and we feel both pride 
and pleasure in his promise that he will make us another 
visit after he has finished his intended three-years' tour on 
the continent of Europe, and before he returns to Amer- 
ica. When he knew me only by the books we have pub- 
lished, I was highly gratified by his thinking it worth while 
to come to Edgeworthstown to make our acquaintance ; 
but having made it, and having spent some days in this 
family, his kind determination to return to us we feel 
infinitely more gratifying. 

May we hope, sir, that, if you should ever visit these 
countries, you will let us have the satisfaction of seeing 
you ? And in the mean time, will you believe me to be, 
not in mere common phrase, but in earnest truth, 
Your obliged and grateful, 

Maria Edge worth. 

To the Rev. W. B. O. Peabodt, 

Spriugfleld, Mass., United States America. 

Mrs. Farrar made a visit this year to Miss Edge- 
wortli. She also was impressed with the gracious 
hospitality, and her observations are worth quoting. 
Maria wrote at once on hearing of their wish to 
visit her: — 

Edgeworthstown, Sept. 3, 1836. 
Dear Madam, — I hasten to assure you and Professor 
Farrar that we feel highly honored and gratified by your 
kind intention of paying us a visit. Mrs. Edgeworth 
desires me to say that we shall be at home all next week ; 
and we shall be most happy to receive you, and your 


young friend, Mr. W , any day after the 5th which 

ma}' be most convenient to you. We say after the oth, 
because on the oth my sister (Harriet) Mrs. Butler, and 
her husband, the Rev. Mr. Butler, will come to us ; and 
independently of the pleasure they will have, I am sure, in 
your soeiet}', I own I wish that you should become ac- 
quainted with them, especially as we are unlucky at this 
moment in not having any of my brothers at home. My 
brother-in-law, Mr. Butler, is, as you will find, a man of 
literature and learning ; besides being all that you will 
like in other respects, from the truth and rectitude and 
simplicity of his character. 

I am much obliged to you for the letters you were so 
good as to enclose to me. Of all our friends in Boston 
and Cambridge, we shall, I hope, have time to inquire 
further and to converse. 

There was only one thing in your letter which did not 
give us pleasure ; and we trust that after your arrival, 
and after you have had some hours to reflect, and a night 
quietly to sleep upon it, you will repent and recant, and 
give up your cniel purpose of giving us only one day. 
Mrs. Edgeworth will remonstrate with you, I think, more 
effectually than I can ; and in the mean time I promise to 
allow you till the morning after your arrival to become 
sufficiently acquainted with the waj^s of the house and 
family, before I turn to you, as I shall (I warn you) at 
breakfast, for j^our tdtbnatum. 

I am, dear madam (for the present), 

Your much obliged and grateful 

Maria Edgeworth. 

P. S. — It must increase my interest in making your 
acquaintance, my dear Mrs. Farrar, to know that you are 
sister to Mr. Benjamin R , whose talents I with great 


reason admire, and for whose kindness and agreeable 
letters I have equally great reason to be grateful. 

"The cordiality and frankness of this letter made us 
all desirous of visiting the writer. We were much struck 
with the manner in which Mrs. Edgeworth was mentioned 
and made of importance as the lady of the house, when the 
whole place was the property of Miss Edgeworth, and she 
was at least thirty years older [sec] than her step-mother." 

Her brother had become so embarrassed in his 
affairs as to be obliged to sell his patrimonial estate ; 
and, to prevent its passing into the hands of stran- 
gers, Miss Edgeworth had bought it, and made her 
step-mother mistress of the establishment, whilst she 
lived with her as a daughter. 

" It was a great pleasure to me to see the sister of two 
of Mr. Edgeworth's wives, — one belonging to the same 
period, and dressed in the same style, as the lovely Houora. 
She did not appear till lunch-time, when we found her 
seated at the table in a wheel-chair, on account of her 
lameness. She reminded me of the pictures of the court- 
beauties of the time of Louis XIV. Her dress was truly 
elegant, and very elaborate. Her white hair had the 
effect of powder, and the structure on it defies description. 
A very white throat was set off to advantage by a narrow 
black velvet ribbon, fastened by a jewel. The finest 
lace ruffles about her neck and elbows, with a long-waisted 
silk dress of rich texture and color, produced an effect 
that was quite bewitching. She was wonderfull}' well 
preserved for a lady of over eighty years of age, and it 
was pleasant to see the great attention paid to her Ijy all 
the family. She was rather deaf : so I was seated by her 
side, and requested to address my conversation to her. 

]vms. farrar's visit. 479 

Wlieu lunch was over, she was wheeled into the library, 
and occupied herself making a cotton net to put over the 
wall-fruit, to keep it from the birds. It was worth a 
journey to Edgeworthslowu only to see this elegant speci- 
men of old age. 

"When shown to our bedroom, we found such an 
extraordinary lock on the door that we dared not shut it 
for fear of not being aljle to open it again. That room, 
too, was unlike any other I ever saw. It was very large, 
with three huge windows, two of them heavily curtained ; 
and the third converted into a small wardrobe, with doors 
of pink cotton on a wooden frame. It had two very large 
four-posted bedsteads, with full suits of curtains, and an 
immense folding-screen that divided the room in two, 
making each occupant as private as if in a separate 
room, with a dressing-table and ample washing conven- 
iences on each side. A large grate filled with turf, and 
all ready for lighting, with a great basket lined with tin, 
and also filled with the same fuel, reminded us strongly 
that we were in Ireland. Large wax caudles wei'C on the 
mantelpiece, and every convenience necessary to our com- 

Miss Edgeworth was ver}^ short, ' ' and carried her- 
self very upright, with a dapper figure and quick 
movements. She was the remains of a blonde, with 
light eyes and hair : she was now gray, but woi'e a 
dark frisette, whilst the gray hair showed through her 
cap behind. . . . 

" In conversation we found her delightful. She was 
full of anecdotes about remarkable people, and often 
spoke from her personal knowledge of them. Her memo- 
ry, too, was stored with valuable information ; and her 
manner of narrating was so animated that it was difficult 
to realize her age. In telling an anecdote of JMirabeau, 


she stepped out before us, and, extending her arms, 
spoke a sentence of his in the impassioned manner of a 
French orator, and did it so admirably that it was quite 

They made a visit to the village, to see the schools 
and improvements in the buildings made by the 

' ' It was market-day : so the main street was full of 
the lower order of Irish, with their horses and carts, asses 
and panniers, tables and stands full of eatables and arti- 
cles of clothing. Sometimes the cart or car served as 
a counter on which to display their goods. The women 
in bright-colored cotton gowns, and white caps with full 
double l)orders, made a very gay appearance. As we all 
passed through the crowd to the schoolhouse, the enmity 
of the Papists to Protestant landholders was but too 

" Though Mrs. Edgeworth had been the Lady Bounti- 
ful of the village for many years, there were no bows or 
smirks for her and her friends, no making way before 
her, no touching of hats, or pleasant looks. A sullen 
expression and a dogged immovability were on every 
side of us." 

The sullenness on which Mrs. Farrar comments 
was not because the Edgeworths had not done their 
very best for the tenants and villagers around them. 
It must be attributed to causes which underlie all the 
Irish difficulties, — difficulties which are too deep- 
seated for discussion here. Certain it is that the 
sympatliies and interest of Miss Edgeworth were all 
enlisted in behalf of Ireland. She was a genuine 

A VISIT n:0]M MR. SrRAGUE. 481 

lover of Ireland, and to her latest day felt the deepest 
affection for the country and the people. Though 
English on her mother's side, and born in England, 
she was Irisli in all her sympathies and interests ; and 
her life-long study was to best promote the happiness 
of those around her. She had a visit during this 
same year (1836) from the Rev. William B. Sprague, 
an American, who left a record of his visit in a book 
called "European Celebrities," published in 1855. 
He says, — 

"As the coach passed Miss Edgeworth's gate, a ser- 
vant came out to take my luggage ; but, as the hotel was 
within a few rods, I preferred to keep my seat until we 
reached it, and the servant followed me to accompany me 
back to the house. The village is as miserable looking a 
place as one often sees ; and, as it was market-day, I had 
an opportunity of witnessing the degradation of the whole 
surrounding population to the greatest advantage. But the 
Edgeworth house was a fine, spacious old mansion, with a 
splendid lawn stretchmg before it, and every thing to in- 
dicate opulence and hereditary distinction. I do not re- 
member to have seen what I thought a more beautiful 
place in all Ireland. 

" As I entered the house. Miss Edgeworth was the first 
person to meet me ; and she immediately introduced me 
to her mother, Mrs. Edgeworth, her father's fourth wife, 
and her sister. Miss Honora Edgeworth. Miss Edge- 
worth, in her personal appearance, was any thing but 
what I expected. She was below the middle size ; her 
face was exceedingly plain, though strongly indicative of 
intellect ; and though she seemed to possess great vigor of 
body as well as of mind, it was, after all, the vigor of old 
age. I supposed her to be alx)ut sixty-five, but I believe 


she was actually on the wrong side of seventy. Her step- 
mother, Mrs. Edgeworth, who, for aught I know, is still 
living, must have been, I think, rather younger than 
Maria, and was not only a lady of high intelligence, but 
of great personal attractions, and withal, as I afterwards 
ascertained, of a very serious turn of mind. As Miss 
Edgeworth knew that my visit was to be limited to a single 
day, she told me almost immediately that she wished to 
know in what way she could contribute most to my grati- 
fication, — whether by remaining in the house, or walk- 
ing over the grounds : kindly suggesting at tlie same time 
that I had better first take a little lunch, and then a little 
rest. She talked upon a great variety of subjects, and I 
set her down as decidedly one of the best talkers I ever 
met with. There was nothing about her that had even 
any affinity to showing off, or trying to talk well ; but she 
evidently did not know how to talk otherwise. She 
seemed to have the most mature thoughts on every sub- 
ject ; and, without the semblance of effort, they took on 
the most attractive dress. I was not unwilling to hear 
what she had to say about slavery. She reprobated the 
course of the ultra anti-slavery men, as eminently adapted 
to defeat its own end, and remarked, that to give the 
slaves liberty before they were qualified to use it, would 
be only giving them liberty to starve, and perhaps to cut 
each other's throats and the throats of their masters. I 
happened to relate an anecdote which I had heard, of a 
young man in Edinburgh having read as an exercise be- 
fore the Presbytery a sermon, the substance of which he 
had heard a celebrated clergyman preach ; and it turned 
out afterwards that the clergyman himself had stolen it 
from some book. 'Dear me,' said Miss Edgeworth, ' that 
was like taking the impression of a forged guinea.' 

" She spoke of Sir Walter Scott with boundless respect, 

Mil. SrRAGUE'S VISIT. 483 

and represented him as being simple as a child, and im- 
mediately added, that she regarded him, Sir James Mack- 
intosh, and Dr. Channing, as the three finest writers the 
age had produced. She spoke respectfully of many 
Americans who had visited her, but she thought the most 
thoroughly accomplished gentleman whom she had seen 
from the United States was Professor Tickuor. She re- 
gretted that she had never heard Robert Hall preach ; but 
she thought his published sermons were incomparabl}' elo- 
quent, and his character, as it came out in his life, was 
one of the highest interest. She talked a good deal about 
Mme. de Stael ; and though she had never seen her, she 
had seen and admired her two children, — the Baron de 
Stael, and the Duchesse de Broglie. She said that there 
could be no doubt that she was chargeable with some very 
gross errors in her life, but some allowauce must be made 
for the customs of the couutrj' ; that it was greatly in her 
favor that she condemned her own course, and inculcated 
rigid virtue upon her children and others ; and that some 
of the Frenchwomen seemed to her to think that Mme. 
de Stael 's principal sin consisted in her repentance. She 
expressed great veneration for the character of Mrs. Han- 
nah More, though she thought that in her old age she 
was a little too puritanical in thinking it a loss of time to 
read Sir Walter Scott's works. She alluded with regret 
to the attacks that had been made upon our country by 
British travellers, but she thought they were generally so 
palpably unjust as to carry their own antidote along with 
them. She said that Mrs. Trollope, with all her bad be- 
havior, was certainly very clever, that some of her descrip- 
tions showed a high order of talent ; and as for Capt. 
Hall, he was at once an ill-tempered and good-natured 
creature ; that he had his object to answer in making his 
book, and he had accomplished it as well as he could. 


"She opened her closet, and asked me to notice the 
American part of her library ; and I observed it consisted 
almost entirely of books which had been presented by her 
Unitarian friends at Boston. Some of her own works 
happened to be there also, and she was led to speak of 
her experience with some of her publishers. She men- 
tioned that one of them had repeatedly requested hereto 
abate from the amount which he had engaged to pay her, 
and that she had done so ; but at length, after she had 
told him explicitly to make proposals he would abide by, 
he wrote her a letter, saying, that he wished another abate- 
ment, and that he found that on the whole he had lost by 
her works ; and she then wrote him in reply, that in con- 
sequence of the loss he had sustained, she would transfer 
her publications to other hands. He afterwards earnestly 
requested that she would excuse him for having thus writ- 
ten, and desired to retain the works ; but she was inflexi- 
ble, and he very angry. Her former publisher, she said, 
when be found himself dying, called for a letter to her 
which was then unfinished, and requested that there 
should be inserted a promise of ten or twelve hundred 
pounds more than he had engaged to give her for one 
of her works ; for it had been so much more profital)le 
to him than he had expected, that he could not die in 
peace till he had done justly by her. And his heirs exe- 
cuted his will in accordance with this dying suggestion." 

After walking about the grounds, and visiting the 
little church with Mrs. Edgeworth, they went to the 
family vault of Edgeworths, where many of them 
were laid. They " walked also to the house of the 
old rector of the church, who, I understood, was a 
worthy man, but I judged not a very stirring 
preacher. We called at two or three of the neigli- 


boring cottages, wliicli looked forlorn enough, but 
still much better than what I had seen the day be- 
fore. I said to one of the women, who seemed to 
have things around her a little more comfortable 
than her neighbors, ' You seem, madam, to be quite 
well off here.' — ' Yes, may it please your honor,' re- 
plied she, ' and long life to the family that have made 
us so.' When we returned from the walk, Miss 
Edgeworth had got several letters of introduction in 
readiness for me ; and I had only time to take them, 
before the coach was at the door. I had many testi- 
monies of Maria Edgeworth's kindness afterwards, 
as I corresponded with her as long as she lived." 

The death of Sophy (Edgeworth), the wife of 
Col. Barry Fox, whose marriage had been so joy- 
fully announced some years jDreviously to Sir Walter 
Scott, by Maria, was a great blow to Miss Edge- 
worth. Her cousin, Miss Sophy Ruxton, also died 
in this year. 

Miss Edgeworth kept up her spirits as bravely as 
possible, and in the midst of affliction turned her 
mind as well as she could to her remaining bless- 
ings. In 1837 she learned Spanish from her sister- 
in-law, Mrs. Francis Edgeworth, and was laughed at 
by her brother, she wrote, for " learning a new lan- 
guage at seventy." 

In Leigh Hunt's " Blue-Stocking Revels, or The 
Feast of the Violets," which appeared first in " The 
Monthly Repository," 1837, there are two mentions 
made of Miss Edgeworth, who figures among her 
sister authoresses who appear at Apollo's ball. Of 
this poem, Rogers said it would have been sufiicient 


" to set up half a dozen young men about town in a 
reputation for wit and fancy." Leigh Hunt himself 
says of it, " It was thought by somebody that objec- 
tion was intended to Mrs. Somerville, because it was 
said of her, — 

" Instead of the little Loves, laughing at colleges, 
Round her, in doctor's caps, flew little knowledges." 

He says he meant neither want of amiability nor 
any disrespect to this learned lady. The whole 
poem is meant as a description, half jest, half ear- 
nest, of " what sort of rebuke Apollo gave his 
nymphs," and 

" This is 
Of Phoebus and woman and blue-stocking blisses." 

The supper being laid, — 

" The genius that stood behind each lady's chair, 
From her dish took the cover ; when forth in glad air 
Leaped a couple of small merry Loves, who displayed — 
What d'ye think ? — a new girdle ? a busk ? a new braid ? 
No : the sweetest blue stockings that ever were made. 
The blue was a violet, fresh as first love." 

The poet then tells all the ladies, that, as long as 
they unite the feminine charms with their knowl- 
edge, — 

" Even though they may speak, 
Not with Sappho's eyes only, but even her Greek," — 

their stocking will be violet , but that, — 

" If you grow foi'mal or fierce or untrue, 

Alas, gentle color ! sweet ankle, adieu ! 

Thou art changed ; and Love's self at the changing looks blue. 


Seize the golden occasion, then. You who already 

Are gentle, remain so ; and you who would steady 

Your natures, and mend them, and make out your call 

To be men's best companions, be sucli, once for all. 

And remember that nobody, woman or man, 

Ever charmed the next ages, since writing began, 

Who thought by shrewd dealing sound fame to arrive at, — 

Had one face in print, and another in private." 

After naming several of the now almost unknown 
novelists and celebrated poetesses, — 

" At the sight of l\Iiss Edgeworth, he said, ' Here comes one, 
As sincere and as kind as lives under the sun ; 
Not poetical, eh ? nor much given to insist 
On utilities not in utility's list 

(Things, nevertheless, without which the large heart 
Of my world would but play a poor husk of a part) : 
But most truly, within her own sphere sympathetic, — 
And that's no mean help towards the practic-poetic' 
Then, smiling, he said a most singular thing, — 
He tlianked her for making him 'saving of string! ' 
But for fear she should fancy he didn't approve her in 
Matters more weighty, praised much her ' Manoeuvring ; ' 
A book which, if aught could pierce craniums so dense, 
Might supply cunning folks with a little good sense. 
And her Irish (he added) poor souls ! so impressed him, 
He knew not if most they amused or distressed him. 

No fault had Miss Ferrier to find with her lot. 

She was hailed by the god as the * lauded of Scott.' " 

In Apollo's description of Lady Morgan, Hunt is 
very clever, — 

" Mrs. Hall may say ' oh ! ' and Miss Edgeworth ' fie ! ' 
But my lady will know all the what and the why." 


At the supper, he adds, — 

" I'm told that INIiss Edgeworth became so vivacious, 

The damsels from boarding-school whispered, ' My gTacious ! ' " 

describing the merry talk. 

Miss Edgeworth urged the return of the Ticknors, 
saying, — 

" We are very eager, very anxious, to see you again at 
our home, retired and homely as it is. You flattered us 
you were happy here during the two short days you gave 
us. Oh, pray, pray come to us again before you go 
from our world forever, — at least, from me forever. 
Consider my age ! and Mrs. Mary Sueyd begs you to 
consider her. I trust you will. Be pleased, my dear 
friends, to like or to love us all as much as ever you can ; 
and pray prove to us that you will take as much trouble 
to come to Edgeworthstown, after having become ac- 
quainted with us, as you took when you only knew the 
authorship part of 

" Your affectionate friend, 

"Maria Edgeworth." 

This letter, written in 1838, showed how much 
she was interested in these American friends. A 
constant correspondence was maintained for years, 
but the Ticknors were not able to revisit their Irish 

She lost one friend in America during this year. 
Mrs. Lazarus, the Jewish lady with whom Miss 
Edgeworth had been for many years on most friendly 
terms, died in 1838. This year Miss Edgeworth 
made a visit to the Butlers at Trim, which she felt 
was a second home to her, as the kindness of her 


sister Harriet and Mr. Butler was peculiarly cor- 
dial. Mr. Ikitlcr was a cultivated man, and she had 
great confidence in his judgment and taste. 

Dr. Mackenzie about this time had mentioned to 
Miss Edgeworth that Southey was employed in work- 
ing up materials for his own life ; and her reply was 
as follows : — 

"I thank you for telHng me that Southey is engaged 
in literary biography. His ' Life of Nelson ' is one of 
the finest pieces of biography I know. I have seen its 
effects on many young minds. I had the honor of meet- 
ing Mr. Southey some j^ears since at a mutual friend's, 
Dr. Holland's, in London. But such is the nature of 
that sort of town intercourse, that I had not opportunity 
of hearing much of his conversation, and he none of mine : 
therefore I can hardly presume that he remembers me. 
But I would wish to convey to him, through you, the true 
expression of my respect for his character, and the admira- 
tion of his talents and of the use he has made of them." 

Southey, in replying to Dr. Mackenzie, says, — 

"I recollect hearing of Miss Edgeworth at Dr. Hol- 
land's, but have no recollection of seeing her there ; but 
I very well remember seeing her more than once at Clifton 
in 1800, at which time her father said to me, ' Take my 
word for it, sir, your genius is for comedy.' He formed 
this opinion, I believe, from some of the Nondescripts, 
and one or two Ballads which had just then appeared in 
'The Annual Anthology.' This, I think, will be worth 
mentioning in the preface to the Ballads. When you 
write to Miss Edgeworth, present my thanks for her obli- 
ging message, and say that I am pleased at being remem- 
bered l)y her." 


In 1839 Honora Eclgeworth married Sir Francis 
Beaufort, often mentioned by Miss Edgewortli in 
earlier years. He was the brotlier of Mrs. Edge- 
worth, her step-mother, and distinguished as hydrog- 
rapher of the navy ; and he held the rank of admiral 
at his death. He was a most amiable, high-princi- 
pled, and accomplished officer. 

In 1839 Miss Edgewortli, in writing to Mrs. Tick- 
nor, who had described to her their home and library, 
answered in her animated and sympathetic manner. 

"Who talks of Boston in a voice so sweet? Who 
wishes to see me there? to show their home, their library, 
their country? I have been there, have sat in the library 
too, and thought, and thought it all charmiug ! Looking 
into the couutry, as you know the windows all do, I 
saw down through the vista of trees to the quiet bay and 
the beautiful hills beyond ; and I watched the glories of 
the setting sun lighting up couutry and towu. 

" I met Sir Walter Scott iu Mr. Ticknor's library, with 
all his benign, calm expression of couuteuauee, his eye 
of genius, aud his mouth of humor ; such as he was before 
the life of life was gone, such as genius loved to see him, 
such as American genius has given him to American 
friendship, immortalized in person as in mind. His very 
self I see, feeling, thinking, and about to speak, and to a 
friend to whom he loved to speak ; and well-placed and to 
his liking, he seems, iu this congenial library, presiding 
and sympathizing. 

"But, my dear madam, ten thousand books, about ten 
thousand books, do you say, this library contains? My 
dear Mrs. Ticknor ! Then I am afraid j^ou must have 
double rows, and that is a plague. Your library is thirty- 
five by twenty-two, you say. But, to be sure, you have 


not given me the height ; and height may nifikc out room 
enough. Pray have it measured for me, that I may drive 
this odious notion of double roivs out of my head." 

This portrait of Scott was painted by Leslie 
from life, at Abbotsford, by Mr. Ticknor's order, 
in 1824. 

In 1840 the adoption of the penny-post system 
rather disturbed Miss Edgeworth, she had so accus- 
tomed herself to writing and receiving long letters 
from her friends and relatives. She also enjoyed the 
franking privilege from her official friends : so that 
all her ideas about letter- writing had to be adjusted 
to meet the new condition of the mails. She made 
one of her long annual visits at the Butlers' at Trim 
in this year. In writing Mr. Ticknor at this time, 
she asked him to give her an account of the state of 
metaphysics in America. 

In the winter of 1840-41 ]\Iiss Edgeworth made a 
pleasant visit in London. She passed some days at 
Hampstead Hall, then the home of her friends the 
Moilliets. On her way she visited several friends, 
among them the Darwins, INIarcets, Romillys, and 
others. She heard the following good story, among 
others, at this time, and, in writing a friend, asks, — 

"Do you recollect the history of the Irishman who 
declared he had seen anchovies growing on the walls at 
Gibraltar? Challenged a gentleman for doubting him; 
met, and fired, and hit his man ; and when the man who 
was hit sprang up as he received tlie shot, and the second 
observed, ' How he capers ! ' — 'By the powers ! It was 
capers I meant, 'stead of anchovies.' " 


In Mrs. L. H. Sigoiirney's^ "Pleasant Memories 
of Pleasant Lands," pnblislied in 1842, she addressed 
the following sonnet to Miss Edgeworth, and made 
a very affectionate mention of her acquaintance with 
her. She met her during this winter in London. 
She says, — 

" To have repeatedly met and listened to JMiss Edge- 
worth, seated familiarly with her by the fireside, may 
seem to her admirers in America a sufficient payment for 
the hazards of crossing the Atlantic. Her conversation, 
like her writings, is varied, vivacious, and delightful. 
Her kind feelings towards our country are well known ; 
and her forgetfulness of self, and happiness in making 
others happy, are marked traits in her character. Her 
person is small and delicately proportioned, and her move- 
ments full of animation. She has an aversion to having 
her likeness taken, which no entreaties of her friends have 
been able to overcome. In one of her notes she saj's, ' I 
have always refused even my own family to sit for my 
portrait, and, with my own good-will, shall never have it 
painted ; as I do not think it would give either my friends 
or the public any representation or expression of my mind, 
such as I trust may be more truly found in my writings.* 
The ill health of a lovely sister, much younger than her- 
self, at whose house in London she was passing the winter, 
called forth such deep anxiety, untiring attention, and 
fervent gratitude for every favorable symptom, as seemed 
to blend features of maternal tenderness with sisterly af- 
fection. It is always gratifying to find that those whose 
superior intellect charms and enlightens us have their 
hearts in the right place." 

1 Mrs. L. H, Sigoumey, American writer, 1791-1865. 

A POEM. 493 

[To Miss Edge worth.] 

Truthful and tender as thy pictured page, 
Flows on thy life ; and it was joy to me 

To hear thy welcome 'mid my pilgrimage, 
And seat me by thy side, unchecked and free. 

For in my own sweet land both youth and sire. 
The willing captives of thy love refined, 

Will of thy features and thy form inquire, 
And lock the transcript in their loving mind 

And merry children, who, with glowing cheek, 
Have loved thy " Simple Susan " many a day. 

Will lift their earnest eyes to hear me speak 
Of her who held them ofttimes from their play, 

And closer press, as if to share a part 

Of the pure joy thy love enkindled in my heart. 

London, Monday, Jan. 25, 1841. 

Miss Maiy Sneyd died, at the age of ninety, in 
February of 1841, while INIiss Edgeworth was in 
London. She sincerely mourned her death, and said 
of the loss she was to the family, " That poor, un- 
eentred, desolate home at Edgeworthstown ! " 

]\Iiss Edgeworth visited her friend Gerard Ralston 
at Croydon, and on her way home made a stay in 
Hatch Street, Dublin, and took Trim, too, on her way. 
She arrived at Edgeworthstown early in the summer. 
After her return she remarked, " The more I live, I 
see more and more the misery of uncultivated minds, 
and the happiness of the cultivated, when they can 
keep themselves free from the literary and scientific 
jealousies and party spirit." 

Miss Edgeworth was interested in looking over 


the " Essais " of Mile. Melun on " Castle Rackrent," 
and other subjects. She remarked on Thady's wip- 
ing the stairs with his wig. This was supposed by 
the French to be a customary thing in Ireland, and 
noticed as such many years before. 

The following paragraph is from the " Life of W. 
H. Prescott," the historian. 

'■'■March 22, 1842. — My good friends the Ticknors 
received this last week a letter from Miss Edgeworth, 
containing a full critique on 'Ferdinand and Isabella,' 
which she had just been reading. She condemns my 
parallel of the English and Castilian queens, and also my 
closing chapter : the former as not satisfactory and full 
enough, and rather feeble ; the latter as superfluous. I 
will quote two remarks of another kind : ' It is of great 
consequence, both to the public and private class of read- 
ers ; and he will surely have readers of all classes, from 
the cottage and the manufactory to the archbishopric and 
the throne in England, and from Papal jurisdiction to the 
Russian Czar and the Patriarch of the Greek Church. 
The work will last,' etc. If Jupiter grants me half the 
prediction, I shall be pretty well off for readers. The 
other sentence is towards the end of the critique : ' Oth- 
erwise an individual ought not to expect that a single 
voice should be heard amidst the acclaim of universal 
praise with which his work has been greeted in Europe.' 
This from Miss Edgeworth. 

" I never worked for the dirty lucre. Am I not right 
in treasuring up such golden opinions from such a source ? " 

Pakenham Edgeworth, who had been eleven years 
in India, returned home on leave this year ; and the 
family assembled at Edgeworthstown to meet him. 

THE halls' visit TO EDGEWOUTHSTOWN. 495 

111 the spring of 1842 Miss Edgeworth was made an 
honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy. 

In June of 1842 her friends, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. 
Hall, made a visit at Edgeworthstown. They were 
collecting materials for a work on Ireland. Their 
description of the home of Miss Edgeworth and its 
surroundings is so good that I insert it here : — 

" The county of Longford possesses few features of 
a distinctive character. It is generally flat, contains 
large districts of bog, and its northern boundaries are 
overlooked by remarkably sterile mountains. Its princi- 
pal town — of the same name — is neat, clean, and well- 
ordered. It may he distinguished — and was so described 
by the estimable companion with whom we visited it — as 
' the best-painted town in Ireland ; ' for the shops and 
houses are clean and trim, and partake very little of the 
negligence and indifference to appearances encountered 
too generally elsewhere. . . . 

"■Our principal object, in Longford County, was to 
visit Edgeworthstown, and to avail ourselves of the privi- 
lege and advantage of spending some time in the society 
of Miss Edgeworth. We entered the neat, nice, and 
pretty town at evening: all around us bore — as we had 
anticipated — the aspect of comfort, cheerfulness, good 
order, prosperity, and their concomitant, contentment. 
There was no mistaking the fact, that we were in the 
neighborhood of a resident Irish family, with minds to 
devise, and hands to effect, improvement everywhere 
within reach of their control. 

"•Edgeworthstown may almost be regarded as public 
property. From this mansion has issued so much prac- 
tical good to Ireland, and not alone to Ireland, but the 
civilized world ; it has been so long the residence of 


high intellect, industry, well-directed genius, and virtue, 
— that we violate no duty by requesting our readers to 
accompany us thither, a place that, perhaps, possesses 
larger moral interest than any other in the kingdom. 

"The demesne of Edgeworthstown is judiciously and 
abundantly planted, and the dwelling-house is large and 
commodious. We drove up the avenue at evening. It 
was cheering to see the lights sparkle through the win- 
dows, and to feel the cold nose of the house-dog thrust 
iuto our hands as an earnest of welcome ; it was pleas- 
ant to receive the warm greeting of Mrs. Edgeworth ; 
and it was a high privilege to meet Miss Edgeworth in 
the library, the very room in which had been written 
the immortal works that redeemed a character for Ireland, 
and have so largely promoted the truest welfare of human- 
kind. We had not seen her for some years, — except 
for a few brief moments, — and rejoiced to find her in 
nothing changed ; her voice as light and happy, her 
laughter as full of gentle mirth, her eyes as bright and 
truthful, and her countenance as expressive of goodness 
and loving-kindness, as they had ever been. 

"Edgeworthstown was, and is, a large country man- 
sion, to which additions have been from time to time 
made, but made judiciously. An avenue of veneraljle 
trees leads to it from the public road. It is distant about 
seven miles from the town of Longford. The only room 
I need specially refer to is the library : it belonged more 
peculiarly to Maria, although the general sitting-room of 
the family. It was the room in which she did nearly all 
her work ; not only that which was to gratify and instruct 
the world, but that which, in a measure, regulated the 
household, — the domestic duties that were subjects of 
her continual thought : for the desk at which she usually 
sat was never without memoranda of matters from which 

THE halls' visit. 497 

she might hnve pleaded a right to be held exempt. It is 
by no means a stately, solitary room, but large, spacious, 
and lofty, well stored with books, and ' furnished ' with 
suggestive engravings. Seen through the window is the 
lawn, embellished by groups of trees. If you look at the 
oblong table in the centre, you will see the rallyiug-point 
of the family, who are usually around it, reading, writ- 
ing, or working ; while Miss I^dgeworth, only anxious 
that the inmates of the house shall each do exactly as he 
or she pleases, sits in her own peculiar corner on the 
sofa : a pen, given her by Sir Walter Scott while a guest 
at Edgeworthstown (in 1825), is placed before heron a 
little, quaint, unassuming table, constructed, and added 
to, for convenience. She had a singular power of ab- 
straction ; apparently hearing all that was said, and occa- 
sionally taking part in the conversation, while pursuing 
her own occupation, and seemingly attending only to it. 
In that corner, and on that table, she had written nearly 
all the works which have delighted and enlightened the 
world. Now and then she would rise and leave the room, 
perhaps to procure a toy for one of the children, to 
mount the ladder and bring down a book that could 
explain or illustrate some topic on which some one was 
conversing : immediately she would resume her pen, and 
continue to write as if the thought had been unbroken 
for an instant. I expressed to Mrs. Edgeworth surprise 
at this faculty, so opposed to my own habit. 'Maria,' 
she said, ' was always the same : her mind was so rightly 
balanced, every thing so honestly weighed, that she suf- 
fered no inconvenience from what would disturb and 
distract an ordinary writer.' 

"She was an early riser, and had much work done 
before breakfast. Every morning during our stay at 
Edgeworthstown she had gathered a bouquet of roses, 


which she placed beside my plate at the table, while she 
was alwa^'S careful to refresh the vase that stood iu our 
chamber ; and she invariably examined my feet after a 
walk, to see that damp had not induced danger ; ' pop- 
ping ' in and out of our room with some kind inquiry, 
some thoughtful suggestion, or to show some object that 
she knew would give pleasure. It is to such small cour- 
tesies as these that we owe much of the happiness of life. 
Maria Edgeworth seemed never weary of thought that 
could make those about her happy ; the impression thus 
produced upon us is as vivid to-day as it was twenty-five 
years ago. 

"A wet day was a 'god-send' to us. She would 
enter our sitting-room, and converse freely of persons 
whose names are histories ; and once she brought us a 
large box full of letters, — her correspondence with many 
great men and women, extending over more than fifty 
years, authors, artists, men of science, social reformers, 
statesmen, of all the countries of Europe, and especially 
of America, a country of which she spoke and wrote in 
terms of the highest respect and affection. 

"Although we had known Miss Edgeworth in London, 
and, indeed, had often the honor of receiving her as a 
guest at our house, it will be readily understood how 
much more to advantage she was seen in her own home ; 
she was the very gentlest of lions, the most unexacting, 
apparently the least conscious of her right to prominence. 
In London she did not reject, yet she seemed averse, to 
the homage accorded her. At home she was emphatically 
at home ! 

' ' Her contemporaries have not said much concerning 
her ; indeed, of late j'ears, she was but little seen out of 
Edgeworthstown : her visits to London being rare and 
brief. In person she was very small — she was ' lost in 

THE halls' visit. 499 

a crowd.' Her face was pale and thin, her features 
irregular : they may have beeu cousidered plain, even in 
youth ; but her expression was so benevolent, her man- 
ners were so perfectly well-bred, partaking of Englisli 
dignity and Irish frankness, that one never thought of her 
with reference either to beauty or plainness. She ever oc- 
cupied, without claiming, attention, charming continually 
by her singularly pleasant voice ; while the earnestness 
and truth that beamed from her bright blue — very l)lue 

— eyes increased the value of every word she uttered. 
She knew how to listen as well as to talk, and gathered 
information in a manner highly complimentary to those 
from whom she sought it : her attention seemed far more 
the effect of respect than of curiosity. Her sentences 
were frequently epigrammatic : she more than once sug- 
gested to me the story of the good fairy, from whose 
lips dropped diamonds and pearls whenever they were 
opened. She was ever neat and particular in her dress, 

— a duty to society which literary women sometimes cul- 
pabl}' neglect ; her feet and hands were so delicate and 
small as to be almost childlike.-' In a word, Maria Edge- 
worth was one of those women who do not seem to 
require beauty. 

"Miss Edgeworth has been called 'cold;' but those 
who have so deemed her have never seen, as I have, the 
tears gather in her eyes at a tale of suffering or sorrow, 
nor heard the genume, hearty laugh that followed the 
relation of a pleasant story. Never, so long as I live, 
can I forget the evenings spent in her library in the midst 
of a family, highly educated and self-thinking, in con- 

1 She once commissioned me to procnre for lier a pair of shoes 
from Melnotte's, in Paris; and when I handed the model to the 
shoemaker, I had difficulty in persuading him that it was not 
the shoe of a little girl. 


versation unrestrained, yet pregnant with instructive 
thought." . . . 

Miss Edgeworth wrote the Halls of tlieir sketch 
of Edgeworthstown and her father : — 

Edgewoktustoavn, Nov. 7, 1842. 
"I sliould be hard to please indeed" — "hard to 
please," impossible to please, if I were not satisfied now. 
Believe me, very and only dear Mrs. Hall, 

Your much obliged and grateful 

Makia Edgevtorth. 

The description of Edgeworthstown pleased the 
Edgeworths very much. The remainder of the 
sketch was not published till after Miss Edgeworth's 
death. The account of Edgeworthstown so pleased 
her that she wrote as follows, in December : — 

" Mrs. Hall has sent me her last number, in which she 
gives Edgeworthstown. All the world here are pleased 
with it, and so am I. I like the way m which she has 
mentioned my father particularly. There is an evident 
kindness of heart, and care to avoid any thing that could 
hurt any of our feelings, and at the same time a warmth 
of affectionate feeling unaffectedly expressed, that we all 
like it, in spite of our dislike ' to that sort of thing.' " 

I have placed part of Mrs. Hall's sketch of Miss 
Edgeworth in its proper place, as it was written in 
1842, after this visit of June. But the reader will 
bear in mind that it was never seen by Miss Edge- 
worth ; and her reference was simply to the brief 
description of the County Longford, and the place 
at Edgeworthstown. 



Severe Illness of Miss Edgeworth. — A Visit to Trim.— Frederika 
Bremer. —Lady Lansdowne's Character. — Last Visit to Eng- 
land.— Sydney Smith. —Observations of his on Maria's Con- 
A-ersation. — Pleasant Stay in London. — Trim. —Illness there. 

— Lady Georg:iana FuUerton. — Armagh. — Lever's Tribute to 
Miss Edgeworth. — ^Maria's Interest in the Poor on the E.state. 

— Writes " Orlandino." — Remarks on Temperance. — Simpkins 
& Marshall ask for Prefaces to Maria's Collected Works. — Her 
Reply.— Mr. Prescott. 

Ix January of 1843 Miss Edgeworth had a severe 
illness, a bilious fever, which prostrated her, and left 
her weak ; and when she was able to travel, she 
went, in the spring, to Trim for a change of air and 
scene. While there she received a serenade from 
the temperance band and society. Father Mathew 
had set on foot the temperance movement, and sign- 
ing pledge of total abstinence was the order of the 
day among the Irish peasantry. " Orlandino " was 
written by ]\Iiss Edgeworth with a desire to aid the 
good cause. 

Miss Edgeworth hailed the advent of a new novel- 
ist in Frederika Bremer. She wrote in March from 
Trim, — 

"Miss Bremer of Stockholm has published a novel, 
translated by Mary Hewitt, which is cue of the most 
interesting, new, and truly original books I have seen this 
quarter ceutury." ("Our Neighbors.") 


In writing Mrs. S. C. Hall, she said, — 

"A book has much interested me: it is uulike any 
other book I ever read in my life, and yet true to nature 
in new circumstances. To be sure, I cannot judge of the 
circumstances or the narrative, never having been in the 
country ; but the descriptions are full of life, and marked 
by that seal of genius which we recognize the instant we 
see it, obtains perfect credence from the reader, and hurries 
us on through the most romantic adventures, still domes- 
tic, and confined to a few persons not in number beyond 
the power of sympathy. One or two the most powerfully 
drawn may, perhaps, touch the bounds of impossibility. 
The book I mean has a title which does not do it justice, 
and which would rather lead one to expect a gossiping 
chronicle. It is called 'The Neighbors.' Its author, I 
understand, is a Miss Bremer of Stockholm ; translated 
by Mary Howitt. And the best and most just praise I 
can give to her translation is, that one never from begin- 
ing to end recollects her existence : never does it occur 
to our mind that it is a translation. Pray tell me if you 
know any thing of this author, and how I should address 
her at Stockholm. 

" How very much one is obliged to the genius which 
can snatch one from one's self away, in times of great de- 
pression of spirits ! — at those times when we are not wise 
enough to be able to give a reason for 2'>co'ticularly liking ; 
but the involuntary feeling is perhaps the most gratifying 
to a writer of benevolent heart, as well as superior genius. 

" I am afraid you are soaring above us. I read of such 
fine doings at the Rosery, such a grand breakfast on 

the marriage of Miss M . But as she is good Irish, 

you are true to your national affections ; and there may 
be room in your heart for all of us." 

TRIM. 603 

In another letter written about this time, she 
speaks of Dickens's " American Notes " as follows : — 

" Dickens's ' America ' is a failure : never trouljlc 3'our- 
self to read it. Nevertheless, though the book is good for 
little, it gives me the conviction that the man is good for 
much more than I gave him credit for, — a real desire 
for the improvement of the lower classes ; and this reality 
of feeling is, I take it, the secret, joined to his great 
power of human of his ascendant popularity." 

Miss Edgeworth was pleased to think that she 
admired Lady Lansdowne, and " appreciated both 
her talents and her character," she said at this 
time, " before all the world found out that she was a 
superior person." She had excellent opportunities 
for studying the fine character of Lady Lansdowne 
early in that lady's life, in their first visit at Bowood, 
where she saw her domestic virtues and her mental 
abilities. She was a noble specimen of the high- 
born and well-bred Englishwoman of her clay. 

While at Trim, Miss Edgeworth received the 
announcement of Lucy Eclgeworth's engagement 
to Dr. Robinson, the celebrated astronomer. At 
this time she took much pleasure in building a 
greenhouse for Mr. Butler, who was very fond of 

In November of 1843 Miss Edgeworth went again 
to England, to visit her sister, Mrs. Wilson. She saw 
many old friends, — Lady Charleville, Lady Elizabeth 
Whitbread, the Lansdownes, — made the acquaint- 
ance of Sydney Smith, whose daughter was the sec- 
ond wife of her old friend Sir Henry Holland. She 


met Sydney Smith at the Hollands, and spoke of out- 
Bos welling him. Lady Holland speaks of this as 
follows : — 

"During her visit she saw much of my father; and 
her talents, as well as her love and thorough knowledge of 
Ireland, made her conversation peculiarly agreeable to him. 
I wish I had kept some notes of these conversations, which 
were very remarkable ; but I have only a characteristic 
and amusing letter she wrote to me after her return home, 
from which the following is an extract : — 

"'I have not the absurd presumption to think your 
father would leave London or Combe Florey for Ireland, 
voluntarily ; but I wish some Irish bishopric were forced 
upon him, and that his own sense of national charity 
and humanity would forbid him to refuse. Then, obliged 
to reside among us, he would see, in the twinkling of an 
eye (such an eye as his), all our manifold grievances up 
and down the country. One word, one hon-mot of his, 
would do more for us, I guess, than Mr. 's four hun- 
dred pages, and all the like, with which we have been 
bored. One letter from Sydney Smith on the affairs of 
Ireland, with his name to it, and after having been there, 
would do more for us than his letters did for America 
and England : a bold assertion, you wiU say, and so it 
is. But I calculate that Pat is a far better subject for 
wit than Jonathan ; it only plays round Jonathan's head : 
but it goes to Pat's heart, to the very bottom of his 
heart, where he loves it. And he don't care whether it 
is for or against him, so that it is real wit and fun. 
Now, Pat would dote upon your father, and kiss the rod 
with all his soul, he would ; the lash just lifted, — when 
he'd see the laugh on the face, the kind smile, that would 
tell him it was all for his good. 


"'Your father would lead Pat (for he'd never drive 
him) to the world's end, and maybe to common-sense at 
the end ; might open his eyes to the true state of things 
and persons, and cause him to ax himself how it comes 
that, if he be so distressed by the Sassenach landlords that 
he can't keep soul and body together, nor one farthing for 
the wife and children, after paying the rint for the land, 
still and nevertheless he can pay King Dan's rint, aisy? — 
thousands of pounds, not for lauds or potatoes, but just 
for castles in the air. Methinks I hear Pat saying the 
words, and see him jump to the conclusion that maybe 
the ghitleman, his reverence, that ^^ has the tcay tcifh 
him," ^ might be the man after all to do them all the good 
in life, and asking nothing at all from them. "Better, 
sure, than Dan, after all ! and we will follow him through 
thick and thin. "Why no? What he is, his reverence, 
the church — that is, onv cleargy — won't object to him; 
for he never was an inimy any way, but always for paying 
them off handsome, and fools if they don't take it now. 
So down with King Dan, for he is no good ! and up with 
Sydney, he's the man, king of glory ! " 

" ' But, visions of glory, and of good better than glory, 
spare my longing sight ! else I shall never come to an 
end of this note. Note, indeed ! I beg your pardon. 
' ' ' Yours affectionately, 

"'Maria Edgeworth.' 

"Miss Edgeworth says in one of her letters to her 
sister, after one of the evenings spent in my father's 
society, — 

" ' Delightful I need not say ; but to attempt to Boswell 

1 This in reference to a reply of Dr. Doyle's to Mr. Smith, about 
a proposition of his to offer the Catholic priests an income: "Ah, 
Mr. Smith ! you've such a way of putting things." 


Sydney Smith's conversation would be out-Boswelling 
Boswell indeed.' " 

Sydney Smith, in describing the imprsssion made 
on him by his new friend, remarked, — 

"Miss Edgeworth was delightful, so clever and sen- 
sible ! She does not say witty things, but there is such 
a perfume of wit runs through all her conversation as 
makes it very brilliant." 

This observation from Sydney Smith on the con- 
versation of Miss Edgeworth shows that she was 
still, in spite of her advanced years, in full posses- 
sion of all her remarkable powers of mind, and as 
agreeable as ever. Praise from Sydney Smith was 
"praise indeed." 

Miss Edgeworth had tickets from Lady Byron, 
and two other friends among the peers, to visit the 
House on the occasion of Queen Victoria's opening 
Parliament in February, 1844 ; and she enjoyed the 
brilliant pageant and display very much. 

Samuel Rogers, her old friend, she had many atten- 
tions from, and, in speaking of it, said of him, "dear, 
good-natured old man," in her affectionate manner. 
She always saw him much during her London visits. 
She dined with the Archbishop of Canterbury, at 
Lambeth Palace, and met there the Bishop of Lich- 
field, and Dean Milman of St. Paul's. She enjoyed 
the conversation of these eminent church dignita- 
ries, and the "dear, simple, dignified, yet playful 
archbishop, who talked well of all things, from 
nursery rhjanes to deep metaphysics and physics." 


This was ]\Iiss Edgeworth's last visit to London. 
She returned to Irehind, and made a visit at Trim, 
where she was unfortunate in having an attack of 
her old enemy, erysipelas: she recovered from it in a 
short time, and was able, daring her convalescence, 
to enjoy reading some new books. She found W. 
H. Prescott's " Mexico " " extremely interesting ; " 
and among other books, of a lighter style, she 
names, — 

'"Ellen Middleton,' by Lady Georgiana Fullerton, 
grand-daughter of the famous duchess-beauty of Devon- 
shire ; aud whatever faults that duchess had, she cer- 
tainly had genius. Do 3'ou recollect her lines on ' William 
Tell"? or do 3'ou know Coleridge's lines to her, begin- 
ning with, — 

' O lady ! nursed in pomp and pleasure, 
Where learned you that heroic measure ? ' 

" Look for them, and get ' Ellen Middleton : ' it is well 
worth your reading. Lady Georgiana certainly inherits 
her grandmother's genius ; and there is a high-toned 
morality and religious principle throughout the book 
(where got she ' that heroic measm-e ' ?) , without any 
cant or ostentation. It is the same moral I intended in 
'Helen,' but exemplified in much deeper and stronger 

These remarks on " Ellen Middleton," and con- 
trasting and comparing it with her own " Helen," 
rather in disparagement of herself and her work, 
show the generosity and impartiality of her mind, 
and her perfect freedom from literary envy and petty 


She made a visit in 1844 to her new brother-in- 
law and sister at the Observatory at Armagh, and 
was charmed with Dr. Robinson, saying, — 

" Robinson at home is not less wonderful, and more 
agreeable even, than Robinson abroad : his ahondance in 
literature equal to Mackintosh ; in science, you know, out 
of sight, superior to everybody." 

Surgeon-General Sir Philip Crampton showed 
Lever the remarks of Miss Edgeworth in praise of 
his former works ; and when he published " Tom 
Burke," in 1845, he dedicated that book to her. He 
says he would not venture to dedicate an Irish novel 
to her, and he is "too sensible of" his "own inferi- 
ority " in that dej^artment. This dedication is a 
pleasant tribute to Ireland's gifted daughter. He 
writes : — 

"I cannot resist the temptation of being, even thus, 
associated with a name, the first in my country's litera- 

" Another motive I will not conceal : the ardent desire 
I have to asure you, that, amid the thousands you have 
made better and wiser and happier by your writings, you 
cannot count one who feels more proudly the common tie 
of country with you, nor more sincerely admires your 
goodness and your genius, than 

" Your devoted and obedient servant, 

"Charles J. Lever." 

Miss Edgeworth was much gratified b}^ Mr. Lever's 
attention. She wrote him on the aj^pearance of the 
" O'Donohue," and he expressed himself as encour- 
aged by her kindly words of interest. 

" OELANDINO." 609 

The year 1846 was one of much anxiety to Miss 
Edgewurth. Her brother Francis died in this year. 
Private grief and public distress made this time a 
busy one for Miss Edgeworth. This season saw the 
beo-inning; of the disastrous famine of 1846-47. 

Miss Edgeworth was always interested in the poor; 
and the villagers of Edgeworthstown owed much to 
her thoughtful, generous acts of kindness. For 
many years she took the care, in ad.dition to her 
many other duties, of making up their letters, and 
sending them to their friends in America and else- 
where, that they might be properly delivered. When 
the famine came, she exerted herself to the utmost 
to secure the necessaries of life for the suffering peo- 
ple, and provided work, begged relief of otliers, and 
gave herself: she wrote a story for " Chambers's Mia- 
cellany " in order to add to the Poor Relief Fund. 
She had laid aside her pen for some time ; but her 
strong desire to push on the good work of temper- 
ance, and the hope of adding a good contribution to 
her subscription for the suffering, were her incentives. 

This little story formed the first of a series edited 
by William Chambers. Miss Edgeworth sympa- 
thized with Mr. Chambers in his desire to serve 
juvenile literature. This tale has Miss Edgeworth's 
usual peculiarities and excellences. She makes her 
children almost too self-denying and ready to give 
up. Few children are able to exercise the self-con- 
trol and cheerful generosity of her little people. 
Orlandino, the hero, is rescued from debt, drunken- 
ness, and ruin, by the children, who first sec him at 
the beck and call of an unscrupulous circus-man- 


ager. As Orlandino was a Protestant, the pledge 
of Father Mathew would not protect him. Miss 
Edgeworth takes occasion to expatiate eloquently 
on the beneficial influence of the good man's work : 
saying the reformation has lasted nine years; and, 
though lapses have occurred, "intemperance is no 
longer tolerated in good society." 

" Since the time of the Crusades, never has one single 
voice awakened such moral energies ; never was the call 
of one man so universally, so promptly, so long, obeyed. 
Never, siuce the world began, were countless multitudes 
so influenced and so successfully directed by one mind 
to one peaceful purpose. Never were nobler ends by 
nobler means attained." 

She speaks of his simplicity, absence of all ora- 
torical attempts, the forbearance from all that could 
touch the imagination, or rouse the passions, excite 
enthusiasm, or even produce what is called a sensa- 

She strikes no uncertain note in favor of temper- 
ance, showing how necessary for some is total absti- 

" Nothing less would break the habit. Tell him noth- 
ing else will do. Tell him that Father Mathew tried, and 
found that nothing less will do. Tell him that Dr. John- 
sou tried it, and said to one who was hesitating about 
giving up wine, ' Drink water, sir, and you are sure of 
yourself. If you drink wine, you never know how far 
it may carry you. I drink water. I now no more think 
of drinking wine than a horse does. The wine upon the 
table is no more for me than the dog that is under it.' " 

" PREFACES." 511 

Miss Edgcwortli wrote Mr. Chambers that " Orlan- 
dino " must have no other title, and " it does not 
require or admit of any preface." Mme. Belloc had 
a copy of this little story for translation. Miss 
Edgeworth wrote the following, concerning its pub- 
lication, in 1848, to her friend Mrs. S. C. Hall : — 

" Chambers, as you always told me, acts very lil:)erally. 
As this was to earn a little money for our parish poor, in 
the last year's distress, he most cousiderately gave prompt 
payment. Even before publication, when the proof-sheets 
were under correction, came the ready order on the Bank 
of Ireland. Blessings on him ! and I hope he will not 
be the worse for me. I am surely the better for him, and 
so are numbers now working and eating ; for Mrs. Edge- 
worth's principle and mine is to excite the people to work 
for good wages, and not, by gratis feeding, to make beg- 
gars of them, and ungrateful beggars, as the case might be. 

"I do not deserve the very kind, warm-hearted letter 
I have just received from you, dear Mrs. Hall ; but I 
prize and like it all the better. So little standing upon 
ceremony, and so cordially off-hand and from the heart ! 
Thank you for it with all vvj heart, and be assured it gave 
me heartfelt pleasure ; and this I know will please you." 

When Messrs. Simpkin & Marshall were prepar- 
ing to publish Miss Edgeworth's collected works in 
1847, they asked her to write prefaces for them in 
the way Sir Walter Scott had done for his novels. 
She answered them at length, and told them that 
her books were not of national interest, and her 
writings could not be thought of in comparison with 
those of Scott. 


[To Messrs. Simpkin & Marshall.] 

Gentlejien, — Accept my best thanks for j'our kind- 
ness in letting me know in time of your design of publish- 
ing a new edition of my novels and tales. I am further 
and highly obliged and gratified by your liberal intention 
of illustrating and "embellishing those works upon the 
plan of the present edition of the Waverley novels." I 
am fully sensible that even such writers as AValter Scott 
owe much of their popularity to the talents of the painter 
and engraver, especially in these modern days of literary 
luxury. How much more necessary must be the elegances 
of printing and external decoration to writers of inferior 
pretension ! Without any affectation of humility, — which 
I despise and dislike more than frank vanity, — I cannot 
believe that any thing I could write as prefaces or notes to 
my stories could add to their value or interest with the 
public in any proportion to those of the Waverley novels ; 
and I have too much honest pride to degrade myself by 
servile imitations, when I could not hope, by any effort, 
to catch the spirit or attain the value of the ongmal. 

Sir Walter Scott, skilful beyond all other writers in art 
of gracefully speaking of himself, possesses in tliose pref- 
aces and notes peculiar advantages, which protect him 
from the offensive appearance of egotism. It is not of 
himself as an individual that he speaks, but of his coun- 
try, of its historical traditions, and romantic legends. 
His novels are truly national : his elucidations are neces- 
sary to make national manners and language, and local 
or transitory customs, intelligible to the English reader 
even of the present day, and still more to those who will 
be delighted with his works m distant lands in future ages. 
The history of each of his fictitious narratives, traced 
from the first idea through all its variations and transfor- 
mations to its final completion, is not only interesting and 


useful as literary criticism to all readers and writers, but 
further, and in a higher sphere, is important to tlie phi- 
losopher and the metaphysician curious to learn the secret 
workings and processes of that mind which has raised Sir 
Walter Scott to a pre-eminence never before attained by 
any writer in his lifetime, and which has gained for him 
personally the sympathy of his country, from the cottage 
to the throne. 

After this view, how can I return to speak of myself 
and of my works? 

Of her father's prefaces she says, — 

" In truth, I have nothing to say of them but what my 
dear father has said for me m his prefaces to each of 
them as they came out. They sufficiently explain the 
moral design : they require no national explanations, and 
I have nothing personal to add. As a woman, my life, 
wholly domestic, cannot afford any thing interesting to 
the public. I am like the needy knife-grinder, — I have 
no story to tell. There is, indeed, one thing I should 
have wished to tell, but that Sir Walter has so much bet- 
ter told it for me. I honestly glory in the thought, that 
my name will go down to posterity as his friend." 

She thought it needless to show her own processes 
of thought, and the " secret workmgs " of her mind. 
But a description of the development of her intel- 
lectual powers, and something of a sketch of her 
original studies, and the gradual growth of a story 
as it formed itself in her mind, would have been most 
interesting to the reader ; and it is to be regretted 
that she was not willing to give these prefaces to the 


[To W. H. Prescott, Boston, U.S.A.] 

Edgewortiistown, Aug. 28, 1847. 

Dear Sir, — Your preface to j'our "History of the 
Couquest of Peru" is most interesting, especially that 
part which concerns the author individually. That deli- 
cate integrity which made him apprehend that he had 
received praise or sympathy from the world on false pre- 
tences converts what might have been pity into admira- 
tion ; without diminishing the feeling for his suffering and 
his privations, against which he has so nobly, so persever- 
ingly, so successfully, struggled. Our admiration and 
highest esteem now are commanded by his moral courage 
and truth. 

What pleasure and pride — honest, proper pride — 
you must feel, my dear Mr. Prescott, in the sense of diffi- 
cult}'^ conquered, — of difficulties innumerable vanquished, 
— by the perseverance and fortitude of genius ! It is a 
fine example to human nature, and will form genius to 
great works in the rising generation and in ages yet 

What a new and ennobling moral view of posthumous 
fame ! — a view which short-sighted, narrow-minded medi- 
ocrity cannot reach, and probably would call romantic, 
but which the noble-minded realize to themselves, and 
ask not either the sympathy or the comprehension of the 
commonplace ones. You need not apologize for speaking 
of yourself to the world. No one in the world, whose 
opinion is worth looking to, will ever think or call this 
" egotism," any more than they did in the case of Sir 
Walter Scott. Whenever he spoke of himself, it was with 
the same noble and engaging simplicity, the same endear- 
ing confidence in the sympathy of the good and true- 
minded, and the same real freedom from all vanity, which 
we see in your addresses to the public. 


As to your judgments of the advantages peculiar to 
each of your histories, "The Conquest of Mexico," and 
"The Conquest of Peru," of course you, who have con- 
sidered and compared them in all lights, must be accurate 
in your estimate of the facility or difficulty each subject 
presented ; and j'ou have well pointed out, in your preface 
to " Peru," the difficulty of making out a unity of sub- 
ject, —where, in fact, the first unity ends, as we may 
dramatically consider it, at the third act, when the con- 
quest of the Incas is effected ; but not the conquest of 
Peru for Spain, which is the thing to be done. You have 
admirably kept the mind's eye upon this, the real end, 
and have thus carried on, and prolonged, and raised, as 
you carried forward, the interest sustained to the last 
moment, happily, by the noble character of Gasca, with 
which terminates the history of the mission to Peru. 

You sustain with the dignity of a just historian your 
mottoes from Claudian and from Lope de Vega ; and in 
doing this con amore you carry with you the sympathy 
of your reader. The cruelties of the Spaniards to the 
inoffensive, amiable, hospitable, trusting Peruvians and 
their Incas are so revolting, that, unless you had given 
vent to indignation, the reader's natural, irrepressiljle 
feelings would have turned against the narrator, in whom 
even impartiality would have been suspected of want of 
moral sense. 

I wish that you could have gone further into that com- 
parison or inquiry which you have touched upon, and so 
ably pointed out for further inquiry, — how far the want 
of political freedom is compatible or incompatible with 
happiness or virtue. You well observe that under the 
Incas this experiment was tried, or was trying, upon the 
Peruvians ; and that the contrary experiment is now try- 
ing in America. Much may be said, but much more is to 


be seen, on both sides of this question. Tliere is a good 
essay by a friend of mine, perhaps of yours, the late 
Abbe Morellet, upon the subject of i^ersonal and political 
freedom. I wonder what your negroes would say touch- 
ing the comforts of slavery. They seem to feel freedom 
a curse, when suddenly given ; and, when unprepared for 
the consequences of independence, lie down with the cap 
of liberty pulled over their ears, and go to sleep or to 
death in some of our freed, lazy colonies, and the empire 
of Hayti. But I suppose time and motives will settle 
all this, and waken souls in black bodies as well as in 
white. Meanwhile, I cannot but wish you had discussed 
a little more this question, even if you had come upon the 
yet more difBcult question of races, and their unconquera- 
ble or their conquerable or exhaustible differences. Who 
could do this so well ? 

I admire your adherence to your principle of giving 
evidence in your notes and appendices for your own accu- 
racy, and allowing your own opinions to be re- judged 
by your readers in furnishing them with the means of 
judging which they could not otherwise procure, and 
which you, having obtained with so much labor and so 
much favor from high and closed sources, bring before 
us gratis with such unostentatious candor and humility. 

I admire and favor, too, your practice of mixing biog- 
raphy with history ; genuine sayings and letters by which 
the individuals give their own character and their own 
portraits. And I thank you for the quantity of informa- 
tion you give in the notices of the principal authorities to 
whom you refer. These biographical notices add weight 
and value to the authorities, in the most agreeable man- 
ner ; though I own that I was often mortified by my own 
ignorance of tlie names you mention of great men, your 
familiars. You have made me long to have known your 


admirjible friend, Don Fernandes de NaA^arrete, of whom 
you make such honorable and touching mention in your 
l)reface. . . . 

I 3'esterday sent ... a parcel ... to Mr. Tickuor. 
In it I have put, addressed to the care of Mr. Ticknor, a 
very trifling offering for you, my dear sir, whicli, trilling 
as it is, I hope and trust your good-nature will not dis- 
dain, — half a dozen worked marks to put in books ; and 
I intended those to be used in your books of reference 
when j'ou are working, as I hope j^ou are, or will be, at 
your magnum opus^ — the " History of Spain." One of 
these marks, that which is marked in green silk, "Maria 

E , for Prescott's works"! is my own handiwork, 

every stitch ; in my eighty-first year, — eighty-two almost : 
I shall be eighty-two the 1st of January. I am proud of 
being able, even in this trifling matter, to join my young 
friends in this family in working souvenirs for the great 

Believe me, my dear Mr. Preseott, your much obliged 
and highly gratified friend, and admiring reader and 

Maria Edgevtorth. 



Miss Edgeworth's continued Interest in Literature. — Lady Cecilia 
Clarendon. —Mrs. Wilson's Death. —Note in Macaulay's History 
on Maria. — Maria's Letter about a Severe Illness. — Lines to 
Ireland. —Maria's Gift to the Irish Porters.— Maria's Sudden 
Illness. —Death. — Her Wishes. —Her Habits. — Her Disposi- 
tion.— Her Mental Training. — Intellect.- Notes. — Methods of 
Work. — Summary. — Character and Influence. 

Miss Edgeworth continued to interest herself in 
literature and the books of the day. Of " Granby 
Manor " she wrote, that she enjoyed it very much : 
" It is beautifully written, pathetic, without the least 
exaggeration of feeling or affectation." 

When Lamartine was writing his " Histoire des 
Girondins," he wanted some information about the 
Abbe Edgeworth, of whom Sneyd Edgeworth had 
written a Life some years before. Miss Edgeworth 
gave Mr. Lamartine what he needed ; and she was 
not at all pleased with "a note from that most 
conceited and not over-well-bred M. de Lamartine," 
adding, " What an egotist and what a puppy it is ! 
But the ovation has turned his head." 

Some inquiries were made as to the color of " Lady 

Cecilia Clarendon's ^ eyes," and she wrote that when 

she last saw Lady Cecilia " her eyes were blue ; " 

and she adds, that she is " highly gratified by finding 

1 Helen. 


that my dear Lady Cecilia's eyes still continue to 
interest sufficientl}^ to have a question as to their 

The last of Miss Edgeworth's life was saddened 
by the death of her favorite half-sister, Mrs. Le 
Stock Wilson (" Fanny "). She was deeply attached 
to all her half brothers and sisters, but Fanny was 
particularly beloved by her. She died after a short 
illness, and the shock was much felt by Maria. 

Mr. Hall, in speaking of the last time he ever met 
Miss Edgeworth, says, — 

' '• The last time we saw her was at the house of her 
sister, Mrs. AVilsou (now also departed), iu North Aud- 
ley Street. She was, of course, a centre of attraction : 
the heated room and many ' presentations ' seemed to 
weary her. We, of course, were seldom near her iu the 
crowd ; and, as we were bidding her good-by, she made 
us amends by whispering, ' "We will make up for this at 
Edgeworthstown.' Alas ! that was not to be : not long 
afterwards she returned to Edgeworthstown, and was 
suddenly called from earth. 

" In one of her letters to Mrs. Hall (who wrote to her 
on her birthday every year during several years), she 
says, ' Your cordial, warm-hearted note was the very 
pleasautest I received on my birthday, except those from 
my own family. You must not delay long iu finding 
your way to Edgeworthstown if you mean to see me 
again. Remember, you have just congratulated me on 
my eighty-second birthday.' " 

Lord Macaulay's biographer saj's, — 

" Among all the incidents connected with the publica- 
tion of his history, nothing pleased Macaulay so much as 


the gratification that he contrived to 2:ive Maria Edo-e- 
worth as a small return for the enjoyment which, during 
more than forty years, he had derived from her charming 
writings.^ That lady, who was then in her eighty-third 
winter, and within a few months of her death, says in the 
course of a letter to Dr. Holland, ' And now, ray good 
friend, I require you to believe that all the admiration I 
have expressed of Macaulay's work is quite uninfluenced 
by the self-satisf action, vanity, pride, surprise, I had in 
finding my own name in a note ! I had formed my opin- 
ion, and expressed it to my friends who were reading the 
book to me, before I came to that note.''^ Moreover, there 
was a mixture of shame, and a twinge of pain, with the 
pleasure and pride I felt in having a line in this immortal 
history given to me, when there is no mention of Sir 
Walter Scott throughout the work, even in places where 
it seems impossible that the historian could resist paying 
the becoming tribute which genius owes, and loves to pay, 
to genius. Perhaps he reserves himself for the '45, and 
I hope in heaven it is so. Meanwhile be so good as to 
make my grateful and deeply felt thanks to the great 
author for the honor which he has done me.' " 

After Maria's dangerous illness a few years before 
her death, she said to a friend, — 

"And, now it is all over, I thank God not only for 
my recovery, but for my illness. In very truth, and with- 

1 " Macaulay on one occasion pronounces that the scene in The 
Absentee, where Lord Colambre discovers himself to his tenantry 
and to their oppressor, is the best thing of the sort since the opening 
of the twenty-second book of the Odyssey." 

2 " This note is in the sixth chapter, at the bottom of the page 
describing the liabits of the old native Irish proprietors in the 
seventeenth century : ' Miss Edgeworth's King Corny belongs to 
a later and much more civilized generation; but whoever has stud- 
ied that admirable portrait can form some notion of wliat King 
Coruy's great-grandfather must have been.' " 


out the least exaggeration or affectation or sentiment, I 
declare, that, on the whole, my illness was a source of 
more pleasure than pain to me ; and I would willingly go 
through all the fever and weakness to have the delight of 
the feelings of warm affection, and the consequent un- 
speakable sensations of gratitude. When I felt that it 
was more than probable that I should not recover, with 
a pulse above a hundred and twenty, and at the entrance 
of my seventy-sixth year, I was not alarmed : I felt ready 
to rise ti-anquil from the banquet of life, where I had 
been a happy guest ; I confidently relied on the goodness 
of my Creator." 

And again, a few weeks only before lier death, she 

wrote : — 

"Our pleasures in literature do not, I think, decline 
with age : last 1st of January was my eighty-second 
birthday, and I think that I had as much enjoyment from 
books as ever I had in my life.'* 

Only a few weeks before her death, Miss Edge- 
worth addressed the following lines to her beloved 
country. They were written early in May. 

*' Ireland, with all thy faults, thy follies too, 
I love thee still : still with a candid eye must view 
Thy wit, too quick, still blundering into sense, 
Thy reckless humor, sad improvidence, 
And even what sober judges follies call, 
I, looking at the heart, forget them all." 

Miss Edgeworth was much touched by the gener- 
osity of the porters who carried the supplies to the 
vessels loaded by American liberality for Ireland 
during the famine ; and, hearing that these poor men 



refused to accept any payment for their services in 
the good work, she knit with her own hands a 
woollen comforter of bright colors for every man. 
They were proud and grateful for the remembrance, 
but before these gifts reached their destination the 
srenerous giver was no more. 

The latter part of Miss Edgeworth's life was 
passed mostly at Edgeworthstown, alternating with 
long visits at the rectory of Trim. The society of 
Mr. Butler, himself a well-known scholar and anti- 
quarian, was very attractive and congenial to Maria. 

Trim is in the neighborhood of Laracor, famed 
for its associations with Dean Swift and Stella , and 
near by is the birthplace of the Duke of Wellington, 
Dangan Castle. 

Miss Edgeworth was expected at Trim when the 
news of her death arrived, so sudden and unexpected 
was her last illness. She drove out, in her usual 
health, a few hours before her death. She was sud- 
denly seized with a pain in the region of the heart, 
and felt languid and oppressed. She consented that 
a letter should be written to her friend, the skilful 
physician. Sir Henry Marsh, summoning him for 
advice , but shortly after it was sent she expired, 
without a struggle, in the arms of her stepmother. 

Miss Edgeworth had often in her latter years 
expressed a desire that she might die at home, be 
spared a long illness out of consideration to the 
family, and that Mrs. Edgeworth might be by her side 
at the last: all these wishes were fulfilled, and her 
death was as painless as possible. To the very latest 
hour of her life, she was fortunate in being in full 


possession of her faculties. Her brilliant mind was 
clear and vigorous to the last. She was never very 
strong, never equal to much exercise: but she was 
favored to the end with average health , her spirits 
were unfailing; and her pleasure in life and the daily 
occupations with which she busied herself was some- 
thing wonderful. 

During the years, after the publication of " Helen," 
which preceded her death, she made some notes for 
a story, " Take for Granted," and wrote " Orlandi- 
no; " but she was wise enough to feel that she had 
passed the time for producing original work. She 
rested her fame on work well done, and did not trifle 
with the public estimation by offering inferior com- 
positions to her readers. There are few authors who 
can resist the temptation of publishing. She was 
early trained to wait : during the years previous to 
her first appearance as a writer, with her little ven- 
ture called " Letters for Literary Ladies," she wrote 
much, as we have seen, but was content to reserve 
her powers for the instruction and amusement of her 
own family and friends. 

Miss Edgeworth, in writing to Mrs. Inchbald, said 
she was her own Rosamond in " Patronage : " witty, 
vivacious, impetuous, generous-hearted Rosamond 
was said by her family and friends to be her own 
counterpart. Undoubtedly she had all the impetu- 
osity, frankness, animation, and warmth of feeling, 
of this character. Her tears were easily excited by a 
tale of woe : some amusing anecdote brought smiles, 
or a pleasant event made her happy. She had, how- 
ever, the noble equalities of Caroline Percy as well. 


She was far-sighted, prudent, and high-spirited. She 
had great self-control, and could, as occasion re- 
quired, exercise this power. She forced herself to 
write " Ormond " by the bedside of her dying father, 
and refused M. Edelcrantz because she felt it was 
the wisest thing she could do, though her heart and 
fancy were deeply engaged. She was ever careful 
to attend to the practical details and petty affairs 
of every-day life, and could turn from the imaginary 
scenes of a novel, or the bright and profound con- 
versation of wits and philosophers, to arrange her 
sisters' costumes, as they visited in Continental or 
English society ; at home was the business manager 
of her father's estate, the overseer of village affairs, 
almoner to the poor, and, as we have seen, their 
best friend and adviser in their affairs. 

She did not disdain the smallest occupation, and 
found in little pleasures much to relieve and invigo- 
rate her mind. Home was ever to her the dearest 
place, the haven to which she turned. We have 
seen her admired, sought, and courted by wits, phi- 
losophers, women of fashion and culture. The great- 
est minds and people of rank alike vied with their 
homage and respect ; but these attentions never 
turned her head, or for a moment allured her from 
the snnple pleasures of a domestic life. She returned 
as readily from the " brilliant panorama of London," 
and the salons of Paris, to the "plain living and 
high thinking" of the home in Ireland, and the 
little cares incident to the life at Edgeworthstown, 
as she went. If the contrast between the well- 
ordered mansions of England, the elegance of Paris, 


and Edgeworthstown, struck her, her affection for 
home and its surroundings was strong enougli to 
compensate for all deficiencies she saw in Ireland. 
As she always said, she "loved' Ireland ; and, much 
as she deplored the poverty and squalor which she 
made it her life-long object to ameliorate, she found 
the charms of home and family sufficient, nay more, 
— a large reward for the loss of the polish of Eng- 
lish life, or the brilliancy of Paris. 

In her own home, Miss Edgeworth was cheerful, 
sympathetic, and gay. When her sisters were with 
her in Paris, one of them wrote of Maria : " We 
often wonder what her admirers would say, after all 
the profound remarks and brilliant witticisms they 
have listened to, if they heard all her delightful 
nonsense with us , " and she turned with readiness 
from the company of savants and philosophers to 
arrange a party of pleasure for her young sisters, or 
perhaps advise about the style of a new dress. 

]\Iiss Edgeworth was extremely small of stature, 
and her figure continued slight and erect to the last. 
She was active and alert in her movements, and 
always ready to take steps for others. Her counte- 
nance was exceedingly plain, and she was unpre- 
tending in her whole appearance. No one could 
meet and converse with her, without forgetting the 
plainness of face, in the spirit, benevolence, and 
genius which irradiated and played over her features, 
as she listened sympathetically to some story of suf- 
fering, laughed at a good anecdote, or told in her 
witty and animated style some Irish tale, or imitated 
the peculiarities of some brilliant orator like Mira- 


beau, or the great Mrs. Siclclons. In 1831 Miss 
Edgeworth said, "Nobody is ugly now but myself, " 
and all through life she was conscious of her plain- 
ness, but could hardly have realized that her friends 
and admirers would gladly look upon the genius in 
the face without regard to the lack of beauty of 
feature, when she so resolutely persisted in refusing 
to sit for a picture.^ 

She was fastidiously neat in her dress, and method- 
ical in her habits , and the love of order, early im- 
pressed upon her by Mrs. Honora Edgeworth, was 
of immense value to her all through life. For order 
and method judiciously managed gave her time to 
do many and very various kinds of work. She 
could turn from her well-arranged writing, to give 
some order about her repairs or village charity work, 
superintend her garden, and settle accounts, with- 
out destroying the continuity of thought or mar- 
ring the dialogue of her stories. Undoubtedly she 
had rare powers of concentration and a very un- 
common memory, aided also by a fine power of 
discrimination in the use of material ; but when one 
considers that she wrote in the large family sitting- 
room, which was also a library and the general 
meeting-place of guests and business visitors, the 
admiration for her talents is increased. For a long 
time Miss Edgeworth used a little desk in this room, 
on which, two years before her father's death, he 
inscribed the following words : — 

1 The picture I use is supposed to have been taken from a sketch 
by an artist who caught the likeness at some public place during 
her first London season. 

MISS edgeworth's mode of life. 527 

"On this liuraMe desk were written all the numerous 
works of my daughter, Maria Edgeworth, in the connnon 
sitting-room of my family. In those works, which were 
chiefly written to please me, she has never attacked the 
personal character of any human being, or interfered 
with the opinions of any sect or party, religious or politi- 
cal : while endeavoring to inform and instruct others, 
she improved and amused her own mind, and gratified 
her heart, which I do believe is better than her head. 

"R. L. E." 

After Mr. Edgeworth's death she used a writing- 
desk which had belonged to him ; and it was phiced 
on a table of his construction, to which she added a 
bracket for her candlestick, and other little conven- 
iences. It was easily rolled near the fire in winter, 
and in summer could be placed behind the pillars of 
the library by a window, where she enjoyed the air. 

Miss Edgeworth was an early riser; and in the 
morning, after a cup of coffee, usually walked, as 
before stated, for some time. She came hito the 
breakfast-room in summer with her hands full of 
flowers ; and sat with the family at the table, though 
she ate very little. She had some work always to 
busy herself with, and, on the arrival of the mail- 
bag, took much interest in reading her letters, and 
listened to the news of the day ; but she never was a 
politician, though she took pleasure in the general 
progress of affairs. 

After breakfast she sat do-wn to write, and worked 
till luncheon-time ; and after that meal occui)ied 
herself with some needlework, as experience taught 
her that writing immediately after eating was bad 


for her. At times her anxiety about a certain piece 
of work, an interesting dialogue, or some half- 
finished character or scene, made her very unwilling 
to defer her writing ; but this was her rule. A drive 
in the afternoon, in later years, was a pleasant re- 
laxation : in early life she rode with her father, 
but natural timidity about horses made her a poor 
horsewoman. The rest of the day was passed much 
as other ladies pass their time. She dined, took tea 
with the family, and passed the evening in conversa- 
tion, or listening to reading. In this way she passed 
her time, when it was unbroken by visits. She 
worked so systematically and regularly many hours 
of the day when at home, that she could easily 
spare the necessary time for visits, and the com- 
plete change they made. 

Miss Edgeworth, while at Trim, in her eighty- 
third year, not long before her death, wrote by 
dictation some reminiscences. She said, — 

" I recollect a number of literary projects, if I may so 
call them, or aperqus of things which I might have writ- 
ten if I had had time or capacity so to do. The word 
aperqu my father used to object to. ' Let us have none 
of your ajyercus, Maria : either follow a thing out clearly 
to a conclusion, or do not begin it ; begin nothing without 
finishing it." 

She followed this advice, she saj^s, but notes down 
some of the many temptations she had to neglect it ; 
among them Sir Thomas Browne's " Vulgar Errors." 

" It might he useful [she says] and entertaining to 
look over this book, and mark what errors yet remain 

NOTES. 529 

that deserve to l)e called vulgar, and what have been 
established as truths ; also to examine whence the errors, 
supposed to be such, arose ; and to ' hriixj Jhncard ' to 
posterity ' arrears outstanding. ' 

" To take a larger scope in the same range, it might be 
well to look at Bacon's 'Pyramid of Knowledge,' and 
note what progress has been made under each division, 
and what new divisions, or headings, have been made in 
consequence of new openings and new discoveries." 

Also take 

" The history of the imagination as well as science. 

" In looking at Bacon's ' Pyramid of Knowledge,' the 
task of examining and reporting on each division appears 
too vast for any mind but the mind of him who first 
sketched that ' Pyramid ; ' but even the commencing such 
an undertaking may be useful as encouraging other minds 
to assist. The slightest light thrown, making the dark- 
ness visible, points out at least Avhere we may attempt to 
penetrate to dispel that obscurity." 

Does not know of any advance to note in meta- 
physics, except 

" The doctrine of association, originally noticed by 
Aristotle, may be termed new in the more extended sig- 
nification in which it has been used by Hartley, Priestly, 
Hume ; but how far it has been usefully applied to educa- 
tion remains to be shown. Upon its revival, this prin- 
ciple seems to have been much over-valued, and, as Sir 
Walter Scott humorously observed, to have been used as 
'a sort of metaphysical pick-lock.' It seems to have 
been forgotten, in the zeal for the power of association, 
that there must be something to associate with, some 


original capacity of feeling or pleasure, probably different 
in different minds. 

" Look over Bentham to consider whether any advance 
has been made by him since Hume, respecting the princi- 
ple of utility, as applied either to morals or legislation. 
There is a slight ' Review ' on this subject, written by 
myself, which may be worth looking at ; as Sir Samuel 
Eomilly approved of it as being, at the time it was writ- 
ten, the most concise statement he had seen of the prin- 
ciple of utility, as applied to crimes and punishments. 
Of Dumont's Bentham ' Sur les Recompenses,' many new 
ideas have been stolen unacknowledged from it by mem- 
bers of Parliament and others, and ]^)lated out for their 
own purposes. 

"AYith regard to the whole system, foimded on the 
principle of utility, it should be observed that it is more 
a question of words than has hitherto in the discussion 
been observed, even by philosophers. If each party 
were to define intelligibly and exactly what they mean 
by the word 'utility,' the dispute must come to an end. 
Hitherto the enemies, as they call themselves, of the 
principle, disregarding derivation, assume that the word 
' utility ' can be used only in a restricted sense ; as we say 
a chair is useful to sit upon, not considering what may be 
useful to human happiness in general, or in giving pleas- 
ure, independently of doing service. In this view of the 
subject, the beautiful, and all that relates to taste, they 
distinguish from the useful ; and they have fair play for 
ridicule well exemplified in Mme. de Stael's raillery 
against Dumont, and the system of utility in her ' Con- 
siderations,' where she asks the philosopher whether 
beautiful landscapes, etc., are useful. The defenders of 
the principle of utility have not yet sufficiently pointed out 

NOTES. 531 

its exact dofinition. Duraont employs the word 'utility' 
as eveiy thing which is couducive to huinau happiness or 
human pleasure ; referring to his list enumerating such 
pleasures, temporal pleasures, both of the senses and the 
intellect, it seems he would also include religious happi- 
ness, or the hope of happiness in a future state, as being 
conducive to our happiness at present. This he does not 
distinctly state, but infers it ; as in his system there is, 
he declares, nothing contrary to religion, only contrary 
to persecution, which, producing evil, comes uuder the 
head of pains." 

Miss Edgeworth was interested in political econo- 
my, and in this same paper of notes she said she 
questioned how the present state of Ireland was 
affected by the potato. 

" I recollect that in Berkeley's 'Querist' there is this 
inquiry' : ' "Whether potatoes have been a blessing or an 
evil to Ireland?' and, as well as I can recollect, another 
of his queries is, ' "What would be the consequence to 
Ireland if potatoes ceased to be the national food ? ' 

"I have some excellent letters of my dear deceased 
friend Mr. Ricardo, which bear upon this subject, and 
which state what ought to be the desideratum for the 
food of a nation : such as, storabilit}' ; not to be the low- 
est price, that something may be had to fall back upon 
in case of crops failing ; food that requires industr}", not 
to be scratched out of the earth like pignuts." 

She compares Scott's and Johnson's Lives, one of 
the novelists, the second of the poets, " curious to 
mark the difference between criticism by one himself 
an artist in one particular line of fiction, and one 
only eminent in general literature, but not possess- 


ing the imaginative or inventive faculty. Johnson's 
superior learning^ in the common acceptation of the 
term, hardly compensates for his want of imagina-. 
tion as to descriptive poetry, and the beauties of 
nature, or as to the graphic power of representing 
human character, and of combining incidents." She 
considered the asperity of Johnson, and false indul- 
gence or flattery of Scott, alike to be condemned. 
Scott was singularly free from envy and jealousy : 
he said, " I would as soon cherish a toad in my 

Her sketches were written in small, narrow books, 
like check-books, and, indeed, often sewed into the 
empty cover of a check-book, or stamped receipt- 

As the reader will have observed, she made many 
changes. As in " Patronage," before its publica- 
tion she took out the Irish absentee family, and 
made a separate story of it ; and again, after " Pat- 
ronage " was published, she changed some parts of 
it. Sometimes her stories were worked over, and 
the plot completely altered, as in "Helen," where 
she made no original plan or groundwork. Some 
of the tales were little altered from their first con- 
ception. In " Ennui " and " Vivian " the stories 
followed almost exactly the original sketches. 

Besides these sketches, she had note-books, small, 
and of the usual note-book shape, in which she 
entered any thing which struck her as affording 
material for thought or composition. So early in 
life did she begin these notes, that the first, dated 
1780, is written in her childish round-hand. 

NOTES. 633 

[Note-book, 1780.] 

^^McCuUoch, Western Isles. — On the mountains — de- 
grees of cold — whiskey iu cup mixed with hailstones — 
quicksilver sank into the bulb. 

'' For Harry and Lucy. — Boy going under archway, 
saw horse could go but not self ; caught hold of bar 
above, and clung. 

"-Star, December, 1801. — Tiial of Tailor and Sim- 
cox. Coachman would sleep on box ; gentleman snatched 
plate from coach ; at trial coachy turning the tables on 
him for stealing plate ; taken to Giltspur-street Compter ; 
damages one shilling." 

Entries were made just as she found things to 
interest her in a miscellaneous way ; and '' by some 
process of memory," as she says, she knew long after 
where to find them. 

It is difScult, in leaving the subject of ]\Iiss Edge- 
worth's method of work, and her deference to her 
father's advice and counsel in the construction of 
her novels and tales, to let the opportunity pass for 
a consideration of his influence over her mind. 
There is no more extraordinary case on record, of 
the subjection of one mind to another, than this. 
An original genius of the highest order is seen 
pressed into the service of a clever, ingenious, but 
self-satisfied and restless intellect ; and it is further 
burdened with sentiments of filial devotion and 

The whole influence of ]Mr. Edgeworth in behalf 
of method, industry, and constant application, was 
o-ood , but what would have been the career of his 
gifted daughter, unhampered by the treadmill in 


which the self-assertion and domineering criticism of 
her father condemned her to work ? Pity and con- 
jecture are alike wasted in regret at the manner in 
wliich Mr. Edgeworth made her write, or in fancying 
what her life would have been untrammelled by the 
mental foot-rule which he applied to her soaring 
genius and gay imagination. 

The natural modesty and timid disposition of 
Maria made her place implicit confidence in her 
father's judgment. Concentration and humor, un- 
usual in a woman's work, which is too often diffusive 
and sentimental, she owed largely to his early super- 
vision of her studies. Humor he could not give, 
but he had enough himself to foster the bias of his 
dauo-hter's mind. She was indebted to him for the 
remarkable ability to concentrate and conserve her 
mental forces. Masculine and feminine qualities of 
mind were thus hers in an unusual degree. 

My. Edgeworth had a love of petty detail : he car- 
ried into literature the same views which made him 
say that a child should not read any thing it could 
not perfectly comprehend. He had not considered 
sufficiently the saying of the French writer, " Le se- 
cret d'ennuyer est celui de tout dire." 

Miss Edgeworth was a devout and consistent 
member of the Church of England, and a constant 
attendant at her parish church. She was constantly 
attacked, during her lifetime, by critics who asserted - 
that she made morality her highest object. Robert 
Hall, after greatly praising her writings, laments that 
they contain no allusions to religion; saying, "She 
does not attack religion, or inveigh against it, but 


makes it appear unnecessary by exhibiting perfect 
virtue without it." 

To those who made such strictures, the question 
might have well been put : What is perfect virtue 
without the essence of religion ? how can a person 
be perfectly virtuous without any religious belief? I 
think Miss Edgeworth meant to inculcate the highest 
sentiments of religion, which were not dependent 
upon creed or dogma, the pure essence of faith in 
" things unseen and spiritual ; " and that, as she 
abstained from profaning the highest human love by 
passionate descriptions of lovers' vows, she felt that 
to indicate the virtues was to convey, to the reader 
of fine intelligence, practical views of religion. 

She was intimate with many Churchmen, and the 
bright and shining lights of the Church paid homage 
to her genius and her good influence. Archbishop 
Whately, in his "Annotations of Bacon's Essays," 
has an allusion to Miss Edgeworth, in which he 
makes the same criticism as Robert Hall, and enters 
at leno;th into the want of artistic excellence this 
causes. All minds have their limitations, and that 
of Miss Edgeworth was no exception to this rule. 
For what she gave the literature of her country we 
must be grateful, and accept the books she gave us — 
she gave us of her best. 

If ever a life could be called "a prayer," that 
of Miss Edgeworth was such in its aspiration and in- 
spiration. Her earnest desire was to do good, to be 
to many the means of uplifting and cheering suffer- 
ing humanity. 

Miss Edgeworth was emphatically a representative 


of the utilitarian ideas which Bentham recognized as 
the great movement of the last century. The re- 
action from the old mediaeval ideas and formulas was 
a violent one, and the natural outgrowth of modern 
civilization and development. As the incoming tide 
washes away the debris left by the former waves, the 
century of the French Revolution saw vast changes 
in action and thought. Miss Edgeworth was a pro- 
gressive and modern thinker. She embodied in 
her novels the spirit of the modern movement, 
among whose leaders she may be named. She had 
a positive influence on society, manners, and litera- 

Macaulay called her "the second woman of her 
age," counting Mme. de Stael as the first ; and an- 
other writer said of her influence, " Miss Edgeworth 
has done more good, both to the higher and lower 
world, than any writer since the days of Addison." 
Sir James Mackintosh said he should require " for 
Botany Bay a code from Bentham, and 'Popular 
Tales ' from Miss Edgeworth." In " Fors Clavigera " 
for May, 1876, John Ruskin, after some excellent 
hints on dress for young girls, tells his readers, if 
they have never seen "Parent's Assistant," to ask 
their parents to buy it for them ; and advises all to 
read "the little scene between Miss Somers and 
Simple Susan, in the draper's shop." In American 
and English literature, there are constant allusions 
to the characters of Miss Edgeworth's tales and 
novels. She has left the indelible impress of genius 
on our literature. She had also a Continental 


Her respect for the simple and daily virtues has 
often been remarked. It has been truly said, that 
great virtues are easy to write of, but to make the 
minor qualities interesting, and yet show marked 
power in handling larger themes, is unusual. She 
said in " Helen," " Whoever makes truth disagree- 
able commits high treason against virtue ; " and her 
writings are full of just such homely truths, at- 
tractively presented. Sir Walter Scott said once of 
her, " Some one has described the novels of Miss 
Edgeworth as a sort of essence of common-sense ; and 
the definition is not inappropriate." 

W. S. Landor, in the " Imaginary Conversations " 
of the dead and living, pays a pleasant compliment 
to Miss Edgeworth's writings. 

Among the latest sketches of Miss Edgeworth's life 
and writings (nothing larger has yet been attempted) 
is one very amusing and blundering description in 
" Illustrious Irishwomen," by E. Owens Blackburn. 
Miss Kavanagh has a brief account of her ; and the 
latest mentions of her are in " The Literary History 
of England," by Mrs. Oliphant (a critical sketch of 
" Castle Rackrent "), and, by " The Cornhill Maga- 
zine " for this month, which has a pleasant and 
sketchy account, from the pen of a well-known writer. 

The reviews, magazines, and papers of the day con- 
tained most tender and affectionate notices of Miss 
Edgeworth; and her death was mourned on both 
sides of the Atlantic as a public loss. One writer 
said of her, "No man or woman in this generation 
needs to be told of the surpassing excellence of her 
various writings; and then entered into a glowing 


eulogium of her public and private virtues. Sweet 
and well-merited words of praise echoed from Amer- 
ica. One notice said, — 

"This admirable writer has long enjoyed a reputation 
like the calm unbiased judgment of posterity. She lived 
to see her works pass from the regions of transient popu- 
larity to that of permanent fame." 

An Irish poetess, in announcing to a friend the 
death of Miss Edge worth, said, — 

"I feel it difficult to express my deep regret for Miss 
Edgeworth's sudden and totally unexpected death. You 
cannot well imagine the charm of her society, or the 
attraction of her manners and superior sense. She was 
never occupied by self. One was sure of pleasing her, in 
whatever way they essayed the trial : she would laugh 
like an Irishwoman in exuberant enjoyment of any pleas- 
ant subject. Her warm-hearted benevolence, aided by 
her warm-hearted love of country, was delightful." 

Old age is rarely seen in a more beautiful aspect 
than in Miss Edgeworth's life. She was neither 
narrowed nor depressed by the chilling influences of 
the years which brought with them the loss of friends 
and many changes. She retained to the last her 
generous heart, her clear mental vision ; and her 
serene hope in humanity, and her faith for the 
future, cheered her spirits and elevated her imagina- 

The life of this gifted woman is a pleasant study 
of all that is best and brightest in human experience. 
She was amiable, affectionate, genuine, and brilliant. 


Her character presents a rare combination of excel- 
lent qualities; and it is easy to gather from the 
various testimony of friends and contemporaries, that 
the woman was as true as her writings. In all the 
relations of life she was respected and beloved. 





The Eastern style of allegory and narrative, of which 
there are so many examples in the "Spectator" and 
" Adventurer," was once a favorite with the public. 
There was too much of it : it went out of fashion, and 
has of late been considered as suited only to juvenile 
taste. Perhaps, for the sake of variety, it may now and 
then be again permitted in periodical publications. There 
appears something of Oriental style and invention in the 
following fiction, which was intended to turn popular 
attention to a curious problem in the history of the human 
mind, — a problem which has long been discussed, but 
which has hitherto been unsolved, by metaphysicians, — 
whether different people feel the same positive degrees of 
pain or pleasure with equal iutensity ; whether all men 
have the same capacity for happiness or misery. It 
seems further to suggest a moral idea, — that many were 
led to pursue what others falsely call Pleasure, merely 
from their want of power of comparing and reflecting on 
their own feelings, and thus of deciding for themselves in 
what their real happiness consists. 

1 Friendship's Offering ; or, The Annual Remembrance. 1835. 
Lupton Kelfe, 13 Cornhill, London. 



' ' My father was a merchant of considerable opulence, 
and of established credit, in the city of London. The hab- 
its of circumspection and frugality, which are insensibly 
acquired in the pursuit of wealth, had neither soured his 
temper, nor contracted his natural benevolence ; but on 
the contrary he found himself, as he advanced in years, 
not only in the possession of an ample fortune, but blessed 
with a mind capable of enjoying and sharing it with his 
fellow-creatures. The fame of his liberality drew around 
him numbers who were in want of his assistance ; and 
his discernment in distinguishing those who were proper 
objects of his bounty obtained for him the notice and 
friendship of many who were disinterested admirers of 
his virtues. Among those of the latter description, I can 
remember from my childhood an elderly gentleman who 
had the air and accent of a foreigner ; who, after having 
casually met and conversed with my father in several 
places of public resort, seemed particularly to solicit his 
acquaintance. My father was equally anxious of culti- 
vating his society ; and by degrees a friendship arose 
between them, which continued without interruption dur- 
ing the remainder of my father's life, and which, after 
his death, seemed to devolve upon me, his only son. 
Indeed, I had ever been ambitious of ingratiating myself 
with this person, and of deserving his esteem ; for I 
thought that he possessed a singular sagacity in judging 
and deciding upon the secret motives of human actions. 
I was but a very young boy when I first saw him, but 
even then I was struck with his appearance. He had a 
remarkable serenity of aspect, and a general expression 
of benevolence in his countenance, but an eye which 
guilt could not withstand, which seemed to penetrate with 
a glance into the inmost recesses of the human heart. 
Whenever he fixed it upon me, I well remember the awe 


which it diffused over my whole frame, — an awe which 
even the consciousness of innocence could not dispel. 
What his thoughts of me were in those moments, I know 
not ; but the reserve of his manner towards me was grad- 
ually dissipated, and he began to admit and to encourage 
my childish conversation and familiarity. He had been a 
gi'eat traveller, and had acquired an amazmg fund of 
knowledge, which he perfectly well knew how to dispense 
in conversation so as to entertain and Instruct. When I 
was a child he would often take me between his knees, 
and tell me marvellous stories, such as were fit to rouse 
my curiosity, and fix my attention ; blending at the same 
time useful knowledge and moral truths with his narra- 
tives, and infusing, as it were, wholesome nourishment 
with delicacies the most grateful to my palate. 

"As I grew older, he instructed me in the sciences in 
which he was most profoundly versed. Indeed, at times 
I could not avoid suspecting that his knowledge in the 
mysteries of nature was even greater than he thought it 
prudent to avow. I had a confused idea of secrets 
equally valuable and dangerous. This idea increased my 
reverence ; but I never ventured to hint it to him, lest I 
might by an idle curiosity offend him, or lose his company 
and friendship. He continued, this subject excepted, to 
treat me with the most unreserved confidence, till the time 
of my father's death, when I looked up to him as the 
only friend who could console me for my loss. 

"At this time, when my heart was softened with grief 
and disposed to solitude, he took me with him to a retire- 
ment at some distance from the metropolis. It was a 
charming spot, rich in all the beauties of nature, and 
highly cultivated by art. 

"After any irreparable misfortune has been severely 
felt, a species of mental calm succeeds. I now experi- 


enced a, kind of plulosopliic melancholy, which, though 
somewhat pamful, I was fond of cherishing. It was one 
of those thoughtful moments, towards the close of even- 
ing, as I was sitting alone with the good old man, my 
second father, he addressed me with uncommon serious- 
ness, urging me to tell him the plans which I had formed 
for my future life. Struck with the suddenness of a 
question upon which I had scarcely deliberated, I hesi- 
tated to reply. 'I have not,' said I after some recollec- 
tion, ' as yet formed any determined resolution ; probably 
from not being impelled to it by necessity. You know 
the success of my father's industry. The fruits of it he 
has left to me ; and finding myself possessed of a more 
than affluent fortune, a fair hereditary name, youth, health, 
an active mind, and one of the best of friends, I seem to 
have little care in life but to enjoy its blessings.' — ' But 
how securely to enjoy those blessings,' said my instructor, 
' is the question. You doubtless wish to be happy, and 
believe the means to be in your power ; but recall the 
scenes which we have observed together m the metropolis. 
How many are there in possession of the very blessings 
which you boast of, and who ai-e yet discontented and 
miserable ! That happiness which is in the power of so 
many, why is it not enjoyed ? or, rather, in what does it 
consist ? Recollect, and tell me who you do believe to be 
the happiest man you know? ' I readily replied, ' Of all 
men I have ever seen, you appear to be the happiest, and 
yet I cannot precisely tell the reason why I think so : you 
are not young ; you do not possess any visil)le means of 
wealth ; your way of life pi'ccludes you from all the grati- 
fications of public admiration : and yet the unalterable 
serenity of your countenance, and the cheerfulness of 
your manner, convince me that you are happy. Perhaps 
it is to youi superior knowledge and philosophy that you 
owe your felicity. The confidence which you are now 


showing me, however, encourages me to speak my whole 
mind. From several circumstances which have occurred 
since we were first acquainted, and from some accidental 
expressions which liave dropped from you at different 
times, I conceived tlie notion tliut you were master of 
some extraordinary secret ; but 1 have hitherto repressed 
my curiosity on this subject, as I did not tliiuk it became 
me to penetrate further into your confidence than you 
condescended to admit me.' — ' You have,' said he, cast- 
ing upon me a look of approbation, ' fully invited my con- 
fidence, and it shall be no longer withheld. It is true, I 
am in possession of an extraordinary secret, — a secret 
1 deem invaluable. It has been the purchase of many 
years' toil and experience, the reward of the reflection 
and the studies of a long life. I am a native of Italy, 
and my life has been spent chiefly in travelling through 
different countries. There is no part of the globe which 
I have not visited ; having uniformly kept one object in 
view, to which, thank Heaven ! I have at last attained. 
You know,' continued he, 'my friendship to 3'our father, 
and my particular attachment to you. I wish to give you 
some proof of my regard, before Nature calls me from 
you ; and I think I have it in my power to leave j'ou a 
gift truly worthy of your acceptance.' There he paused. 
" He di'ew carefully from beneath his vestment a small 
tube, of a substance which I had never before seen : it 
enclosed something which I concluded was a talisman. 
The old man put it into my hands : upon a nearer view, 
it appeared to me nothing more than a small instrument, 
constructed like one of our common thermometers, and 
marked into a great number of divisions. After I had 
examined it in silence for some time, m}- friend took it 
from me, and placed it near the region of my heart, — 
when instantly a fresh phenomenon appeared : a multi- 
tude of new divisions became visible. ' There are many 


more,' said my friend, observing my astonishment : ' there 
are many more too nice to be discerned by the unassisted 
eye of man ; but, the longer and more attentively you 
regard them, the more j'ou will l)e enabled to discover.' — 
' But what is this liquor ? ' said I ; 'or is it a liquor which 
seems to move up and down in the tube? and what are 
those small characters which I perceive at the top and 
bottom of the instrument ? ' — ' The bright characters 
which you see at the top of the crystal are Arabic,' said 
he, 'and they signify jyerfect felicity ; the degrees which 
you perceive marked upon the crystal form a scale of 
happiness descending from perfect felicity to indifference, 
which is the boundary between pleasure and pain ; and 
from that point commence the dark divisions of misery, 
which continue deepening in their shade as they descend, 
and increasing in distance from each other, till they touch 
the characters at the bottom, which signify the final 
bounds of human misery and despair. The liquor which 
you see contained in the tube,' continued he, ' is endued 
with the power of rising and falling in the crj^stal, in 
exact proportion to the pleasure felt by the person who 
wears it at any given period of his existence.' I cast my 
eye down the tube as he held it in his hand. ' Perfect 
felicity and despair,' I repeated, and sighed : ' how many 
of my fellow-creatures are doomed to feel the one, how 
few attain the other!' — 'These extreme points,' said 
the good old man, recalling my eyes to the tube, ' though 
apparently so far distant from each other, are equally 
dangerous. It will seldom, however, be found actually 
at these extremes, and the intermediate degrees it defines 
with unerring precision.' — 'But,' said I, 'is it not 
enough for me to feel pleasure, to be convinced I feel it? 
and will not a little reflection ascertain the degree with 
sufficient accuracy?' — 'Perhaps not,' said he, smiling 
at my presumption : ' perhaps not so readily as you ima- 


gine. The want of precision in this circumstance is one 
of the first causes of the mistakes which mankind fall 
into in tlieir pursuits, especially the young and enthusias- 
tic : reflecting little on the past, and forming great expec- 
tations for the future, they seldom rightly value their 
present sensations ; guided by the opinion or the example 
of others, they mistake the real objects of happiness ; 
and the experiments necessary to be tried, to set them 
right, must be so often repeated to make useful impres- 
sions, that life itself passes away before they are con- 
vinced of their error, or before the conviction has been 
of material advantage to them. Now, such is the nature 
of this little instrument, that, if you wear it next your 
heart, it will invariably preserve its efficacy in all the 
situations of life, — in the most tumultuous assembly, as 
well as in the most tranquil solitude ; at the moment when 
your soul is the most agitated, when your emotions are 
the most complicated, when you would not or could not 
enter into any strict scrutiny of your own heart, this little 
crystal will be your monitor. Press it to your bosom, and 
ask 3'ourself this question: "What degree of pleasure 
or of pain do I now feel ? ' ' The answer you will find 
distinct and decided. The liquor in the tube will instan- 
taneously point it out upon the scale of happiness or mis- 
ery : it will remain stationary until j^ou unlock the chain 
from around j^our neck, in your hours of retirement.' 

" Now I began to comprehend the true use and value 
of this present ; and, retracting my hasty judgment, I 
expressed, in the warmest terms, my acknowledgment. 
'Take it, my son,' said he, putting it into my hands. 
' May you, in the course of your life, experience its 
utility as much as I have done ; may it facilitate your 
improvement in virtue and wisdom, the only genuine 
sources of happiness. My life must now Ite near its 
close ; my habits are fixed, and I have no further occa- 


sion for this monitor : yet it has been so long my constant 
companion, that I can scarcely part with it, even to you, 
without reluctance. Promise me, however,' added he, 
' to send me frequent and accurate accounts of the ex- 
periments you try with it : they will be an amusement to 
me in my retirement.' 

"I readily made my friend the promise which he 
required ; and, having again thanked him for his present, 
I eagerly clasped the golden chain around my neck, and 
resolved to begin, as soon as possible, a series of obser- 
vations. It happened, however, that, the evening on 
which I had intended to commence these, I was visited 
by one of the most celebrated metaphysicians of that 
day, a friend of my father : to him I communicated the 
secret I had in my possession, and showed him my treas- 
ures. Envy flashed in his eyes : he pressed my thermom- 
eter to his heart. Instantly the liquor rose almost to the 
point of perfect felicity ; then, fluttering, alternated be- 
tween that and despair. ' Could I but possess this instru- 
ment for one month,' cried he, 'I could solve problems 
the most interesting to metaphysicians, and I could per- 
fect my theory of the human mind.' 

" Friendship, philanthropy, and, to own the truth, some 
degree of curiosity to see how the liquor would rise in the 
tube if I should comply with his desire, decided my answer. 
'Your wish is granted,' said I; and at that instant the 
liquor rose to the point of X)erfect felicity, with such violence 
that the tube broke with a sudden explosion ; and I, and 
the world, and the metaphysicians were deprived forever 
of our intended experiments on the Mental Thermometer." 


AbBOTSFORD, 313, 379, 383, 

394-396, 400. 
Ackland, Sir Thomas Dyke, 197. 
Aikin, Dr., ICO, 301. 
Aikin, Miss, 302. 
Alison, Mrs., 466. 
AUson, Rev. Mr., 194, 196, 200, 

383, 386. 
Alison, Dr., 466. 
Allenstown, 141. 
Allibone, 228. 
Almack's, 374. 
Althorpe, Lord, 164. 
America, 101, 315. 
Andre', Major, 43, 45. 
Anglesey, Lord, 372. 
Apreece, Mrs. (Lady Davy), 230, 

202, 272, 278. 
Apsley House, 435. 
Apsley, Lord, 368. 
Arago, M., 138, 346. 
Armagh, 508. 
Aristotle, 529. 
Ashburton, Lord, 163. 
Aucram, Lord, 197. 

Bacon, 529. 

Badajos, 263. 

Baillie, Mrs., 301. 

Baillie, the Misses Joanna and 

Agnes, 324, 369, 370, 375, 393, 

Ballautyne, James, 291. 

Ballinahinch Castle, 451. 

Ballinasloe, 451. 

Bannatynes, 383, 397, 442. 

Banks, Sir Joseph, 71, 136, 

Barbauld, Mrs., 62, 131, 135, 137, 
160, 195, 204, 207, 212, 238, 245, 
248, 252, 273, 299, 301, 324, 331, 

Barrington, Sir Jonah, 233. 

Barry, Col., 44. 

Bath, 13, 14, 25, 50, 71. 

Bathurst, Lord, 318, 368. 

Bathurst, Lady, 318. 

Beaconsfield, Lord, 254. 

Beauchamp, Lord, 304. 

Beaufort, Dr., 103, 105, 202. 

Beaufort, Miss, 103, 105, 109. 

Beaufort, Sir Francis (admiral), 
138, 203, 323, 372. 

Beaufort, Rev. William, 138. 

Beaufort, Duchess of, 368. 

Beauharnais, Hortense, 183. 

Beddoes, Dr. Thomas, 97, 132, 138, 
155, 157, 230. 

Beddoes, Mrs. Anna (Edge- 
worth), 97, 98, 139, 155, 208, 256, 
280, 304, 315, 362, 402, 436. 

Bedford, Duke of, 164, 276. 

Beecher, Sir Wrixon, 253. 

Beechwood Park, 370. 

" Belinda," 141, 143, 172, 238, 243, 




Belloc, Mme. (Mile. Swinton), 

361, 426, 447, 511. 
Benger, Miss, 201. 
Beutley, Mr., 447. 
Bentham, Jeremy, 167, 346, 450, 

530, 536. 
Berkeley, Bisliop, 531. 
Bernadotte, 366. 
Berners, Lord, 446. 
Berry, Miss, 334. 
Berry, Misses, 271. 
BerthoUet, 161. 
Besborougb, 326. 
Betty, Master, 269. 
BibliotLeque Britannique, 160. 
Biddle, Eachel, 256. 
Bisset, Lady Catherine, 367. 
Blackburn, E. Owens, 537. 
Black Bourton, 20, 21, 50, 52, 

Black Castle, 40, 89, 92, 105, 208, 

232, 263, 313, 334, 363, 382, 401, 

407, 427, 429. 
Blagden, 72. 
Blake, Misses, 30, 56. 
" Blind Kate," 353. 
Boaden, Mr., 275. 
Bolton, Mr., 38. 
Bonaparte. Gen., 171, 173, 180, 184, 

192, 277, 336, 340, 342, 343, 364, 

427, 452. 
Bonstetten, M., 346, 351. 
Bowles, Mr., 317. 
Bowood, 315, 323, 325, 327, 362, 363, 

368, 471, 503. 
Bradstone, Miss, 8. 
Brandon, Countess of, 253. 
Brandford, 433. 
Breadlebane, Lady, 330. 
Breguet, 161. 

Bremer, Fredcrika, 501, 502. 
Breton, M., 160. 
Brewster, Dr., 410. 
Bridgnian, Mrs., 5. 
Briukley, Dr., 255. 

Bristol, 156, 207, 218. 

Bristol, Bishop of (Dr. Hansel), 

Bristow, George, 328, 
Broadhurst, Miss, 289. 
Brooke, Mr., 85. 
Broglie, Mme. de, 351, 352. 
Brougham, Lord, 275, 385. 
" Brown, Capability," 323. 
Brown, Dr. Thomas, 384. 
Browne, Sir Thomas, 528. 
Bruges, 160. 
Brunei, Mr., 325. 
Buchan, Lord, 202. 
Bumstead, Mr. Horace, 133. 
Bunsen, Baroness, 157. 
Burney, Dr. Charles, 277. 
Buruey, Miss, 172. (See D'Ar- 

Burney, Mr., 377. 
Burke, Edmund, 248,376, 377. 
Bushe, Chief Justice, 253. 
Bussigny, 349. 
Butler, Mrs. Harriet (Edgeworth), 

334, 382, 393, 401, 415, 420, 421, 

424, 427, 445, 491. 
Butler, Rev. Mr., 402, 406, 427, 

503, 522. 
Byrkeley Lodge, 313, 327. 
Byron, Lord, 246, 271, 278, 279, 

Byron, Lady, 272, 333, 506. 

CafFARELLI, Gen., 337. 

Calwich, 351. 
Campan, Mme., 171, 183. 
Camelford, 164. 
Caudolle, M. de, 346. 
Canmont, Mme. de, 341. 
Canning, Mr., 164, 355. 
Canterbury, Archbishop of, 506. 
Carnegy, Miss, 316. 
Carr, Miss, 333, 437, 451. 
Carr, Mr. and Mrs., 273, 330, 333, 
369, 434. 



Carrington, Lord, 277, 283, 314, 

365, mi. 
Carton, 253. 

Castle Forbes, 83, 84, 210, 214, 
"Ca-stle Rackrcnt," 77, 78, 140, 

142, 143, 172, 228, 2G1, 375, 382, 

457-15il, 4'.I4, 537. 
Cathcart, Lord, 217. 
Chambers, William, 509, 511. 
Chamouni, 348. 
Chandler, 280. 
Charlemont, Lord, 253. 
Charleville, Countess of, 272, 

Chastellux, Marquis de, 168. 
Cheltenham, 304. 
Cheneir, M., 145. 
Chester, 5, 28. 
Chesterfield, Lord, 26, 180. 
Chorley, H. F., 215, 463. 
Cirencester, 368. 
Clarendon, Lady Cecilia, 518, 

Clifford, Mrs., 280. 
Clifton, 92, 93, 97, 155, 304, 362, 

Cockbum, Lord, 196. 
Collon, 15, 105, 106, 141, 202, 214, 

313, 314. 
" Comic Dramas," 309. 
Coleridge, S. T., 507. 
Condorcet, 168. 
Connemara, 258, 451. 
Conolly, Lady Louisa, 253, 299. 
Constable, Mr., 396, 404. 
Constant, Benjamin, 339. 
Cook, Capt., 72. 
Coppet, 347, 351. 
" Corinne," 227. 
Cork, 200. 

" Cornwall, Barry," 463. 
Corpus Christi College, 20. 
Corry, Mr., 254. 
Cowper, 87. 
Craigcrook, 394. 

Crampton, Sir Philip, 253, 254, 

298, 408, 411, 428, 508. 
Cranallagb, Castle of, 3. 
Craven, Clarissa, 256. 
Crewe, Lady, 84, 271. 
Crillon, Due de, 172. 
Croker, Wilson, 253, 355. 
Croydon, 493. 
Cullum, Sir Hugh, 3, 4. 
Cuvier, 335. 

DaER, Lord Basil, 137. 
Dalgouski, Princess, 179. 
Dangan Castle, 522. 
D'Angouleme, Duchesse, 341. 
D'Arblay, Mme., 277, 285, 330. 
Darwin, Dr. Erasmus, 28, 31, 32, 

46, 62, 88, 93, 96, 99, 109, 153, 

154, 306, 439, 491. 
Darwin, Mrs,, 32, 34, 156. 
Davis, Mrs., 65, 72. 
Davy, Sir Humphry, 138, 139, 218, 

255, 258, 262, 272, 278, 303, 375, 

399, 426. 
Day, Thomas, 38, 41, 45, 54, 57, 

62, 71, 74, 82, 86-88, 96, 97, 138, 

280, 316, 323, 325, 328. 
Deane, Mr., 19. 
Degerando, M., 171. 
Deepdene, 330, 368, 378. 
Deffand, Mme. du, 247. 
Delany, Mrs., 13, 14. 
Delessert, M., 102, 181, 335, 359. 
Delessert, Mme., 102, 167, 181, 

Delessert, Franrois, 162. 
Denman, Lord, 137. 
Derby, 268. 

D'Escars, Duchesse, 338. 
Devonshire, Duke of, 25. 
Dewes, Mrs., 13, 14. 
Dickens, 503. 
Diesterweg, 134. 
D'Israeli, Mr., 355. 
" Dog Trusty," 90. 



D'Osmonds, Marquis, 346. 

D'Ouditot, Mme., 1G9. 

Douglas, Miss, 428. 

Doyle, Dr., 505. 

Drogbeda school, 15. 

Dromaua, 253. 

Dublin, 3, 4, 6, 41, 135, 255, 265, 

291, 298, 303, 334, 493. 
Dublin, University of, 15, 19, 20, 

Dublin University Magazine, 463. 
Dudley, Lord. (See Ward and 

Dumont, M., 73, 162, 163, 165, 

167, 237, 315, 31G, 320, 346, 348, 

353, 354, 358, 371, 449, 450, 471, 

Dunmore, Lady, 272. 
Dunne, Michael, 308. 

"Early Lessons," 144, 172, 

282, 381, 444. 
Edelcrantz, M., 174, 177, 203. 
Edge worth, Edward, 2. 
Eilgeworth, Francis, 2. 
Edgeworth, Francis, 5, 7, 9. 
Edgeworth, Capt. John, 3, 5. 
Edgeworth, John, 5. 
Edgeworth, Lady, 6, 7. 
Edgeworth, Mr. Richard, 41. 
Edgeworth, Mrs., 28. 
Edgeworth, Miss Margaret, 40, 

(See Ruxton.) 
Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, — 

Extract from his own memoirs, 

Born at Bath, 11. 

Sent to Dr. Lydiat's school at 
Warwick, in England, 12. 

Spends Christmas holidays at 
Welsbourne, 13. 

Returns to Ireland ; Drogheda 
school, 15. 

Mock marriage, 18. 

Enters Dublin University, 20. 

Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, con- 
Removed to Corpus Christi 

College, Oxford, 20. 
Visits his parents at Bath, 25. 
Marries Miss Elers, 26. 
Takes his wife to Ireland, 27. 
Returns to England, 28. 
Visits Lichfield, 31, et seq. 
First introduction to Dr. Dar- 
win, 32. 
Description of Mr. Edgeworth 

by Anna Seward, 37. 
Makes acquaintance with Mr. 
Thomas Day and others, 38, 
Takes Mr. Day to Ireland, 40. 
Inherits the paternal estates, 

Becomes interested in Miss 

Honora Sneyd, 42. 
Visits Lichfield, and is the 
bearer of a proposal of mar- 
riage to Miss Honora Sneyd 
from Mr. Day, 46. 
Visits France with Mr. Day and 

young Richard, 50. 
Reasons for deciding to edu- 
cate his son according to the 
system of Rousseau, 50, 52. 
His wife joins him for a short 

time, 52. 
Hears of the death of Mrs. 
Edgeworth, and returns to 
England, 53. 
Marries Miss Honora Sneyd, 

Takes his family to Ireland, 56. 
Returns to England, 57. 
Visits Ireland, and returns to 

Lichfield, 60. 
Writes the first part of " Harry 

and Lucy," 62. 
Writes to Maria of the death of 
Mrs. Honora Edgeworth, 64. 



Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, con- 

His influence over Maria's 
mind, U7. 

Married to Miss Elizabetli 
Sneyd, 70, 71. 

Makes steeple-clock at Brere- 
ton, 74. 

Goes to Ireland to live, 7.5. 

Begins improvements at Edge- 
wortbstown, 78. 

Death of his friend Mr. Day, 86. 

Writes Mrs. Day of the fatal 
illness of his daughter Houo- 
ra, 88. 

Goes to England with Mrs. 
Edgeworth, 90. 

Sends for Maria to join him at 
Clifton with the children, 92. 

Meets old friends, 93, 96. 

Visits Dr. Darwin, 95. 

Returns to Ireland on account 
of disturbances there, 08. 

Offers his system of telegraph- 
ing to the government, 99. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth dies, 
103, 104. 

Attachment for Miss Beaufort, 

Marries Miss Beaufort, 109. 

Raises a corps of infantry, 112. 

Moves his family to Longford, 

They return in safety to Edge- 
worthstown, 125. 

Is elected to Parliament, and 
visits Dublin with his wife. 
They go to England, accom- 
panied by Maria, 135. 

M. Pictet, description of a visit 
to Edgeworthstown, 145, 153. 

Sets out for England with Mrs. 
Edgeworth, Maria, etc., on 
their way to the Continent, 

Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, con- 

Visits Mrs. Darwin and others, 
156, 1137. 

Buys in London a large com- 
fortable travelling carriage 
for their Continental journey, 

Takes lodgings in Rue de Lille, 
Paris, 161. 

Ordered to quit Paris in twenty- 
four hours, 180. 

Returns to Paris, 182. 

Visit to Madame de Genlis, 183, 

Leaves Paris, and goes to Edin- 
burgh, where they spend some 
weeks in the society of litera- 
ry, cultivated, and scientific 
people, 192, 201. 

Returns to Edgeworthstown, 

Visits London, 210. 

Letter to Lady Morgan, 216. 

Death of his daughter Char- 
lotte, 219. 

Dedication of " Professional 
Education " to Earl Spencer, 

Has an inflammation of the 
eyes, 229. 

Letter to Mrs. Inchbald, 2.39. 

Attack of " The Edinburgh Re- 
view " on " Professional Edu- 
cation," 246. 

Suggests ISIaria's writing a pre- 
face for Mrs. Leadbeater, 248. 

Letter to publishers, 252. 

A visit to Kilkenny, 253, 254. 

He visits Dublin, 255. 

Builds spire to Edgeworths- 
town church, 256, 260. 

Visited by IMr. Hall, 260, 262. 

He visits England, 267, et seq. 

Receives much attention, 271. 



Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, con- 

Mackintosh's account of him, 

Byron's description of him, 278, 

Leaves London, 280. 

Miss Hamilton's mention of 
him, 28.3. 

Illness, 291. 

A visit to Dublin, 298. 

Continued ill health, 298, 299. 

Publishes " Readings on Poet- 
ry," 300. 

A drive to Pakenham Hall, 306. 

His share in " Orraond," 308. 

Remarks to Lady Romilly, 311. 

Prefaces to "Harrington" and 
" Ormond," 311. 

His death, 311. 

His epitaph by himself, 313. 

His memoir, 314, 316, 325, 328, 

Remarks by " The Quarterly 
Review," 355-357. 

Remarks by " The Edinburgh 
Review," 359. 

His inscription on Maria's desk, 
526, 527. 

His influence on Maria, 533, 534. 
Edgeworth, Maria, — 

No life of her has yet appeared, 

Irish only in her sympathies, 2. 

Her father's influence, 2. 

Her memoir of her father, 2. 

Her ancestors, 2, et seq. 

Her father's scientific tastes in- 
fiuence her, 12. 

" The Quarterly Review " no- 
tice affects her, 18. 

Birth of Maria, 30. 

Early years, 30. 

Life at Black Bourton, 52. 

Her mother's death, 56. 

Edgeworth, Maria, continued. 
Her father's second marriage, 

Goes to Ireland for the first 

time, 56. 
Three years there, 57. 
Sent to boarding - school at 

Derby, 61. 
Recollection of Mrs. Honora 

Edgeworth, 61. 
Writes her first little story, 65. 
Removed to London school, 65. 
Proficiency in Italian and 

French, G6. 
Entertains her school-fellows 

by stories, 66. 
Learns to study character, 67. 
Third marriage of Mr. Edge- 
worth, 72. 
Maria has trouble with her eyes, 

Spends holidays at Mr. Day's 

house, 72. 
His care of lier, 73. 
Gradual recovery of her eyes, 

Goes to Ireland to live, 74. 
Writes of this event, 75, 76, et 

Her father's management of his 

estates, 77. 
Studies the people, 77, 78. 
Home-life, 78-80. 
Keeps her father's accounts, 80, 

Begins to translate " Adele et 

Theodore," 81, 82. 
Writes much, 82. 
Very quiet in early life, and re- 
served, 82. 
Family friends, 83, 84. 
Meets Lady Moira, 84, 85. 
Maria speaks of Mr. Day, 87. 
Left in charge of the family and 

place, 90. 



Edgeworth, Maria, continverl. 

Manner of writing, IK), 91. 

A visit to England, 92-98. 

At work on the " Freeman Fam- 
ily," 98. 

"Letters for Literary Ladies" 
in process, 99. 

"Practical Education" on the 
stocks, 99, et seq. 

"Letters for Literary Ladies " 
appear, 101. 

"Parent's Assistant" pub- 
lished, 102. 

" Moral Tales " in hand, 103. 

Death of Mrs. Elizabeth Edge- 
worth, 103. 

Mr. Edgeworth's fourth mar- 
riage, 105-109. 

Maria at work, 110. 

Internal dissensions and alarm, 
111, et seq., 127. 

" Whim for "Whim " acted, 

"Practical Education" pub- 
lished, 128. 

Account of " Practical Educa- 
tion," 128, etseq.,lU. 

A visit to England, 135. 

" Forgive and Forget," 135. 

Friends in England, 135-140. 

London, 139. 

"Castle Kackrent" published, 

" Belinda " published, 141. 

Anecdote, 141, 142. 

Second edition of " Castle Rack- 
rent," 143. 

" Essay on Irish Bulls," 144. 

Visit of Pictet, 144, et seq., 

The visit to France, 153, et seq., 

A visit to Miss "Watts, 157-159. 

Belgium, 159, 160. 

Paris, 161-192. 

Edgeworth, Maria, continued. 

Many friends made, 101-192. 

An offer, 174-177. 

Return to England, 192. 

Edinburgh, 19;J-202. 

Maria makes many friends, 19G, 

Return to Ireland, 202. 

Maria at work on " Popular 
Tales," 203. 

" Griselda" written, 203. 

Letters to Mrs. Barbauld, 204- 

A visit to Black Castle, 208. 

Sleeves sent to Mrs. Stewart, 

Visits to friends, 210. 

A letter to Mrs. Barbauld, 212, 

" Leonora," 214. 

Visits to various Irish friends, 

Anecdote of the Duke of "Wel- 
lington, 217. 

A visit to Coolure, 219. 

Maria's garden enlarged, 220. 

Letter about " Professional Ed- 
ucation," 222, 223. 

Maria reads " Corinne," 227. 

"Professional Education," 229. 

Maria finishes "Ennui," 229, 

At work on " Vivian," 230, 231. 

A dinner at Pakenham Hall, 
230, 231. 

A visit to Black Castle, 232. 

" Fashionable Tales " pub- 
lished, 233. 

Maria's reading, 234. * 

Visitors, 235. 

"Belinda" a.sked for by Mrs. 
Barbauld for her collection, 

Maria makes visits to Sonna, 
etc., 238. 



Edgeworth, Maria, continued. 

Letter to Mrs. Inchbald, 239- 

Letter to Mrs. Barbauld, 243- 

Criticism of new books, 246, 

Maria edits "Cottage Dia- 
logues," 248. 

Letter to Mrs. Barbauld, 248- 

Attends theatricals at Kilken- 
ny, 253, 254. 

A visit to Dublin, 255. 

Meets several eminent people, 

" Patronage " in hand, 256. 

" The Absentee," 256, 257. 

Maria's account of the spire, 

Maria described by Mr. Hall, 

" Absentee " finished, 263. 

Visits at Black Castle and Pak- 
enham Hall, 2G3. 

Letter to Mrs. Inchbald, 263- 

Another letter to the same, 265, 

Visit to Dublin, 265. 

" Patronage " finished, 266. 

A visit to England, 267. 

Welcome in London, 268. 

Maria finds herself famous, 270, 

Friends made, 271-277. 

Byron's account of Maria, 278, 

They leave London, 280. 

Visits to friends, 280, 281. 

Return to Ireland, 282. 

Maria begins new series of 
"Early Lessons," 282. 

She has a visit from Miss Ham- 
ilton, 282, 283. 

Edgeworth, Maria, continued. 
Maria's description of Mrs. 

Siddons's reading, 283, 284. 
Letter to Mrs. Inchbald, 284, 

JIaria receives French transla- 
tions of her books, 285. 
"Patronage" published, 286. 
Letter to Mrs. Inchbald, 287- 

A visit to Dublin, 291. 
Maria's pleasure at Scott's 

Postscript to " Waverley," 

Her letter to the author of 

"Waverley," 292-297. 
Writes Mrs. Barbauld, 299, 301- 

Letter from Miss Mordecai, 305. 
A visit from Mr. Ward, 305, 306. 
A compliment from Scott in 

"Harold the Dauntless," 

"Ennui," 307. 
Letter to Mrs. Inchbald, 309, 

" Dramas " iinblished, 311, 
" Harrington " and " Ormond," 

" Thoughts on Bores," 311. 
Grief at her fatlier's death, 312, 

A visit to Black Castle, 313. 
Return to Edgeworthstown, 

Begins memoir of her father, 

A visit to Bowood, 315. 
Letter from Bowood, 316-319. 
Visits to the Grove, 323. 
At Joanna Baillie's, 324. 
Lady Spencer's, 324. 
Bowood again, 325. 
Byrkeley Lodge, 327. 
Trentham, 327. 



Edge worth, Maria, continued. 
Smetlnvick, 3127. 
Grove House, 328. 
London invitations, 328. 
At tlie Duchess of Welling- 
ton's, 320. 
Meets the Duke of Wellington, 

Visits at Deepdene, 330. 
NorLury Park, 330. 
Hampstead, 330. 
Ireland again, 331. 
"Popular Tales" translated, 

A letter from Scott, 331, 332. 
A visit from the Carrs, 333. 
Completion of her father's 

memoir, 334. 
A visit to the Continent, 334, et 

Changes observed in French 

society, 341-343. 
Geneva, 346. 
Chamouni, 346. 
Renews intimacy with Dumont, 

Coppet, 347. 
A visit to Mme. de Montolieu, 

349, 350. 
Maligny and Coppet, 351, 352. 
Rosamond, 353. 
Pregny, 353. 
The attack by " The Quarterly" 

on Maria's life of her father, 

Return to Paris, 359. 
Sees Mme. de la Rochejaque- 

lin, 359-361. 
England, 362. 
Bowood, 363. 
Home again, 363. 
At work in Edgeworthstown 

streets, 364. 
A visit to England, 365. 
Visits at Smethwick, 365. 

Edgeworth, Maria, continued. 
Wycombe Abboj', 365. 
Meets William Wilbcrforce, 365, 

Gatcombe Park. 367. 
Mr. Ricardo, 367. 
Bowood, 3()8. 
Other visits, 368. 
Hampstead, 369. 
Meets Mrs. Somerville, 370, 

Sir James Mackintosh, 371. 
Lord Anglesey, 372. 
Newgate, to hear Mrs, Fry, 373, 

Almack's, 374, 375. 
Remarks on London society, 

376, 377. 
Hears of Miss C. Sneyd's death, 

More visits, 379. 
After return home at work on 

" Harry and Lucy," 381. 
Remarks on " Peveril," 382. 
Visit to Scotland, 383, et 

Description of Scott, 387. 
Meeting with Sir Walter, 388, 

389, et seq. 
Sees Edinburgh under his au- 
spices, 392. 
Arrival at Abbotsford, 394. 
The fortnight there, 395, 396. 
Letter to Constable, 397. 
Home again, 397. 
Home-life, 400. 
Visitors, 402. 
" The Mental Thermometer," 

Other letters to him, 404-407. 
Comment on Mrs. Barbauld's 

character, 407. 
Letter to Constable, 408-410. 
Another letter to him, 410, 



Edgeworth, Maria, continued. 

Visit of Sir Walter Scott to 
Edgeworthstown, 411, et seq., 

Miss Edgeworth 's enjoyment of 
this event, 412. 

Their trip to Killarney, 419- 

Business difficulties met by 
Maria, and successfully over- 
come, 425. 

Remarks on Lady Scott and Sir 
Humphry Davy, 426. 

Black Castle, 427. 

Acquaintance with Capt. Hall, 

Early walks of Miss Edgeworth, 

•' Garry Owen," printed in 1829, 

A legacy, 429, 

Fire in the house, 429. 

Capt. Hall's journals sent to 
Maria, 430. 

Tribute of Scott in his intro- 
duction to the "Waverley Nov- 
els, 430, 431. 

Distress in Ireland, 432. 

A visit to England, 433. 

Meets Talleyrand at Lansdowne 
House, 433. 

Meets many friends, 434-437. 

Keturns home, 437. 

Again at work on "Helen," 
439, 440. 

Letter to Mrs. Somerville, 440- 

Death of Sir "Walter Scott 
grieves Maria, 442. 

Remarks, 443. 

At work on " Helen," 444-447. 

Publication of " Helen," 448, 

A visit to Connemara, 451. 

Letter about " Helen," 451. 

Edgeworth, Maria, continued. 
A letter to Mrs. Stark, 453-4G2. 
Kind words from the public 

about " Helen," 463. 
A visit from the Ticknors, 465- 

Comments on Mr. Ticknor, 472, 

Letter to Mr. Peabody, 474- 

Letter to Mrs. Farrar, 476, 477, 
Visit of Mrs. Farrar at the 

Edgeworths', 476-480. 
Visited by Mr. Sprague, 481- 

Leigh Hunt's mention of Miss 

Edgeworth in a poem, 486- 

Letters to Dr. Mackenzie, 488, 

A visit at Trim, 488. 
Letter to Mrs. Ticknor, 490. 
A visit in London, 491. 
A meeting with Mrs. Sigourney, 

Grief of Maria at Mrs. Mary 

Sneyd's death, 493. 
Returns to Ireland, and visits 

Dublin and Trim, 493. 
The Halls' visit to Maria, 495- 

A severe illness, 501. 
A visit to Trim, 501. 
The temperance movement, 501, 
Letter to Mrs. S. C. Hall, 502. 
A visit to London, 503. 
Meets Sydney Smith, 504. 
Letter to Lady Holland, 504, 
Meets many old friends, 506. 
Returns to Ireland, and visits 

Trim, where she has a severe 

illness, 507. 
Visits the Observatory at Ar- 
magh, 508. 
Dedication from Lever, 508. 



Edgeworth, ^raria, crtnthmcd. 

The distress and famiuo in Ire- 
land, 509. 

Writes " Orlandino," 500, 511. 

Asked for prefaces to her col- 
lected works, 511. 

Reply to same, 512, 513. 

Letter to W. H. Trescott, 514- 

Her continued i^leasuroin read- 
ing, 518. 

Grief at death of Mrs. "Wilson, 

Pleasure on reading Macaulay's 
note, 520. 

Letter to friend after a danger- 
ous illness, 521. 

Address to Ireland, 521. 

Death, 522. 

Latter years, 523. 

Love of home, 524, 525. 

Personal appearance, 525, 526. 

Methodical manner of work, 

Notes, 528, 532. 

Sketches, 532. 

Her subjection to her father, 
533, 534. 

Religious views, 535. 

Utilitarian ideas, 536. 

Her literary position, 536. 

Notices of her, 537, 538. 

Estimate of character, 538, 
Edgeworth, Mrs., 26, 28, 31, 40, 

52, 53. 
Edgeworth, Mrs. Honora, 55, 57, 

60, 64, 70, 78. 
Edgeworth, Mrs. Elizabeth, 99, 

103, 104, 132. 
Edgeworth, Mrs. Frances Ann, 

115, 138, 155, 237, 262, 279, 290, 

496, 522, 526. 
Edgeworth, Anna. (See Bed- 

Edgeworth, Charlotte, 141, 153, 

155, 156, 219. 
Edgeworth, C. Sueyd, 102, 213, 

230, 243, 289, 290, 298, 304, 433, 

Edgeworth, Emmeline, 155. (See 

Edgeworth, Fanny, 137, 289, 331, 

334, 365, 368, 372, 430. 
Edgeworth, Francis, 438, 509. 
Edgeworth, Harriet. (Sec But- 
Edgeworth, Henry, 192, 194, 196, 

199, 209. 
Edgeworth, Honora, 88, 89. 
Edgeworth, Honora (2d), 238, 247, 

314, 466. 

Edgeworth, William, 99, 222, 392, 

415, 422, 431. 
Edgeworth, Lovell, 93, 99, 132, 

150, 191, 208, 229, 236, 304, 314, 

412, 425. 
Edgeworth, Michael Pakenham, 

315, 494. 
Edgeworth, Lucy, 503. 
Edgeworth, Richard, 50, 93, 101. 
Edgeworth, Sophia, 383, 400, 

Edgeworth, Abbe, 181, 182, 221, 

340, 341, 518. 
Edgeworth, Miss Anna, 429. 
Edgeworthstown, 2, 27, 74, 78, 

80, 98, 102, 103, 106, 113, 116, 

125, 128, 141, 203, 255, 258, 397, 

426, 429, 465, 493, 500, 509, 519, 

Edinburgh, 163, 192, 201, 383. 
" Edinburgh Review," 227, 228, 

233, 246, 286, 358. 
Edinburgh, University of, 196. 
Edwards, Mr., 160. 
Edwards, Mr. Brian, 160. 
Egypt, 337. 
Elcrs, Paul, 20, 29. 
Elers, Capt., 30. 



Elers, Miss Anna Maria. (See 

Mrs. Edgewortb.) 
Ely, Marquis of, 253. 
" Emilie de Coulanges," 203, 231. 
England, 335, 362, 365, 433. 
" Ennui," 203, 229, 231, 307. 
Eroles, Miss, 438. 
Essex, Lord, 180. 
Eustace, Major, 123, 124. 

FaNSHAWE, Lady Catherine, 

271, 328. 
Fairy-mount, 6. 
Farnham, 214. 
Farrar, Mrs., 476, 480. 
"Fashionable Tales," 233, 234, 

23G, 245, 257. 
Fazakerley, 363. 
Ferguson, Adam, 199. 
Finch, Eliza, 256. 
Firmont, Abbe de. (See Abbe 

Edge worth.) 
Fitzgerald, Lady Edward, 188. 
Fitzgerald, Lord Edward, 253. 
Fitzpatrick, 278. 
Fletcher, Mrs., 143, 384-386. 
Foley, Admiral, 277. 
Fontainebleau, 337. 
Force, Duchesse de la, 338. 
" Forgive and Forget," 135. 
Forres, 393. 

Foster, Chief Baron, 15, 105. 
Foster, John, Speaker of Irish 

House of Commons, 15, 141. 
Foster, William, Bishop of 

Clogher, 15, 356. 
Fox, Lady Anne, 110. 
Fox, Capt. Barry, 400. 
Fox, C. J., 164, 377. 
Fox, Francis, 18. 
Fox Hall, 110. 
Fox, Judge, 210. 
Fox, Mr., 113. 
France, 50, 52. 
" Frank," 282, 369, 444. 

"Freeman Family" ("Patron- 
age"), 98. 
Frojbel, 134. 
Frognel, 379. 
Fry, Mrs., 373, 374. 
FuUerton, Lady Georgiana, 507. 

G ALTON'S "Hereditary 

Genius," 11, 33, 39. 
Gardner, Lord, 283. 
" Garry Owen," 429. 
Gatcombe Park, 367. 
Gautier, Mme., 162, 181. 
Gell, Sir William, 137. 
" Generosity," 90. 
Geneva, 144, 145, 153, 166, 167, 

346, 347. 
Genlis, Mme. de, 81, 130, 160, 183, 

Gibbon, 350. 
Gibbs, Sir Vickary, 164. 
Gifford, Mr., 355, 
Glasgow, 201, 383, 397. 
Goldsmith, Oliver, 12. 
Granaid, Lady, 210. 
Granard, Lord, 83, 85, 100. 
Granard, 111, 120. 
Grandison, Lord, 253. 
Grant, Mrs., 428. 
Grattan, Henry, 253. 
Greenough, Mr., 218. 
Gregory, Dr., 194, 196, 466. 
Grenville, Lady, 318. 
Grenville, Lord, 318. 
Grenville, Mr., 318, 320. 
Greville, Mrs., 84. 
" Griselda," 203. 
Gwatkin, Mrs., 436, 437. 

Hall, Capt. Basil, 138, 428, 

Hall, Rev. Robert, 483, 534. 
Hall, S. C, 495, 519. 
Hall, Mrs. S. C, 395, 420, 421, 432, 

495, 500, 502, 511, 519. 



Hall's " Travels in Ireland," 2G0- 

Hallam, Mr., .">G3. 
Hamilton, Miss Elizabeth, 19C, 

231, 282, 283, 297. 
Hamilton, Mr., 402. 
Hampstead, 273, 330, 369, 379, 

Hampstead Hall, 491. 
Hampstead Heath, 324. 
Hare Hatch, 29, 30, 38, 41. 
Harness, Mr., 272, 322, 377. 
"Harrington," story of, 30G, 307, 

311, 402. 
" Harry and Lucy," 282, 381, 426, 

Hartley, 529. 
Haygarth, Mr., 302. 
Hay ley, Mr., 306. 
Hazlitt, 167, 355. 
Heberden, Dr., 62. 
"Helen," 312, 344, 376, 432, 439, 

444, 446, 451, 453, 463, 468, 
Hemans, Mrs., 298. 
Herschel, Mr., 428. 
Hoare, Mrs. Charles (Miss Robin- 
son), 96, 97. 
Holland, Sir Henry, 235, 267, 372, 

377, 503, 520. 
Holland, Lady, 504. 
Holte, Lady, 71, 82. 
Holte, Sir Charles, 72. 
Hope, Mrs. (Lady Beresford), 272, 

276, 329, 374, 378. 
Horner, Francis, Mr., 273, 407. 
Howitt, Mary, 501, 502. 
Hughes, Rev. Patrick, 12. 
Humboldt, 335, 
Hume, 529, 530, 
Hungerford, Mr., 20. 
Hungerford, Mrs., 21, 22, 299. 
Hunt, Leigh, 88, 485-487. 
Hunter, Mrs., 324. 
Hunter, Mr., 285, 353, 362, 402. 
Huntingdon, Lady, 84, 

IlCHESTER, Earl of, 164. 
Inchbald, Mrs., 102, 236, 237, 239, 

2(i3, 266, 271, 274, 275, 286, 309, 

Inglis, Sir Robert, 197. 
Ireland, 2, 27, 31, 41, 56, 75, 97, 

98, 140, 256, 331, 381, 397, 

" Irish Bulls," 103,261. 

Jacob, Mr., 355, 

Jacotot, 134, 

Jameson, Mrs., 452, 

Jeffrey, Lord, 200, 313, 384, 394, 

Johnson, Dr., 224, 234, 376, 450, 

510, 531, 532. 
Johnson, Joseph, 101, 102, 139, 

140, 154, 160, 203, 236, 244, 

Jones, Sir William, 325. 
Jones, Lady, 325. 
Jordan, Camille, 171. 

KaVANAGH, Miss, 537. 
Keir, Mr., .38, 95, 97, 136. 
Kennedy, Sir Alexander, 22. 
Kildare, 248. 

Kildare, Countess of, 253. 
Killala, 113. 
Killarney, 420, 422, 451. 
Kilkenny, 253, 254. 
King, Mrs. (Emmeline Edge- 
worth), 208, 315, 367. 
King, John, 155, 156, 280, 368. 
Kinneil Castle, 383. 
Knowle, 437. 
Knutsford, 267. 
Kosciusko, Gen., 171. 

L'ABBAYE aux Bois, 335. 
La Celle, 340. 
La Harpe, 179. 

Lally-Tollendal, Marquis, 172. 
Lamartine, 518. 



Lamb, Lady Caroline, 303, 320. 
Lambeth Palace, 506. 
Landor, W. S., 537. 
Lausdowne, 3d Marquis of (Lord 

Henry Petty), 165, 269, 283, 316- 

318, 323, 308, 433, 471, 503. 
Lansdowne, Lady, 165, 269, 273, 

283, 315, 316, 321, 322, 325, 329, 

368, 503. 
Lansdowne House, 165, 373, 

La Place, 370. 
Laracor, 522. 

Latiffiere, Mrs., 61, 63, 65, 66. 
Latouches, 253. 
Lausanne, 348. 
Lavoisier, M., 327, 359. 
Lavoisier, Mme. (See Rumford.) 
Lawrence, Sir Thomas, 372. 
Lazarus, Mrs. (See Mordecai.) 
" Lazy Lawrence," 102. 
Leadbeater, Mrs. Mary, 248, 251, 

Le Breton, M., 192. 
Le Brun, Mme., 339. 
Lefanu, Mrs., 254, 325, 326. 
Leinster, Duke of, 253. 
Leicester, 157. 
Lenet, M., 160. 
" Leonora," 211. 
Leslie, 491. 
" Letters for Literary Ladies," 82, 

99, 101. 
Lever, Charles J., 508. 
Lichfield, 31, 32, 36, 37, 42, 46, 54, 

Lichfield, Bishop of, 506. 
Lindsay, Lady Charlotte, 272. 
Linniean Society, 39. 
Lisbon, 97. 
Lissard (Castle), 6, 7. 
" Little Dog Trusty," 102. 
Locke, Mr. and Mrs., 3.30. 
Lockhart, J. G., 200, 291, 383, 390, 

395, 412, 443, 447. 

London, 30, 50, 56, 268, 281, 435, 

437, 493, 498, 504, 506, 507. 
Londonderry, Marquis of, 374, 

London " Quarterly Review," 18, 

234, 286, 299, 305, 355, 358. 
Longford, 111, 113, 114, 126, 495, 

496, 500. 
Longford Castle, 368. 
Longford, Lady, 19, 83. 
Longford, Lord, 10, 55, 83, 96, 138, 

220, 263, 304, 306, 329, 427. 
Louis XVIII., 221. 

Louis Philippe, 433. 
Lovell, Jane, 10. 
Lovell, Sir Salathiel, 10. 
Lovell, Samuel, 10, 11. 
Lushington, Dr., 369. 
Luttrell, 434. 
Lydiats, Dr., 12. 
Lygon, Lady Georgina, 304. 
Lyons, 52, 53, 354. 

MaCAULAY, Lord, 167, 236, 

269, 519, 536. 
Macdonald, Lady Rachel, 253. 
Mackenzie, Dr., 489. 
Mackenzie, Mr., 384. 
Mackintosh, Sir James, 210, 220, 

221, 228, 245, 246, 275, 276, 371, 
372, 436, 471, 536. 

"Mademoiselle Panache," 102. 

Mahon, Lord, 277. 

Maligny, 351. 

Malthus, 340. 

Malvern Links, 280. 

Mausel, Dr. (Bishop of Bristol), 

Manchester, 267. 
Mann, Horace, 134. 
" Manoeuvring," 231. 
Marcet, Mrs., 328, 346, 351, 358,491. 
Marmont, 338. 
Mars, Mile., 338. 
Marsh, Sir Henry, 522. 



Martin, Mrs., 451. 

Maskelyuc, 72. 

Maturin, R. C, 302. 

Mathew, Father, 501. 

Meath, Bishop of, 253. 

Melrcso Abbey, 3'J5. 

Mehin, Mile, 494. 

" Memoir " of R. L. Etlgewcrth, 

334, 347, 350, 359, 362, 363. 
Milbanke, Lady, 271. 
Miles, Mr., 230, 237, 245, 257, 288, 

Milesi-:Mojon, Mme., 331 
Mill, John Stuart, 328. 
Millar, Dr., 302. 
^lilman, Dean, 506. 
Jililnes, Miss, 58, 59. 
Mirabean, 166, 439, 449, 525. 
Moira, Lady, 84, 85. 
Moira, Lord, 157. 
Moilliets, 327, 346, 353, 354, 865, 

Monaco, Prince of, 171. 
Monaco, Princess Joseph of, 

157, 172. 
Montague, Basil, 463. 
Mont Blanc, 346. 
Montgolfier, M., 161. 
Montolieu, Mme. de, 349, 350. 
Moore, Tom, 253, 254, 207, 272, 
279, 320, 322, 323, 325, 346, 408, 
Moore, Judge, 415. 
" Moral Tales," 103,141. 
Mordecai, Miss Rachel, 305, 363, 

Morellet, Abbe', 161, 169, 170, 188, 

Morgan, Lady, 215, 216, 355. 
Morris, Mr. and Mrs., 274, 285, 

289, 290. 
Mulgrave, Lord. (See Norman- 


Murray, Lindley, 193. 

N ANGLE, Ann, 370. 

Napier, Mrs., 299. 

Napoleon I. (See Bonaparte.) 

Nash, Beau, 25. 

Navan, 103, 308. 

Necker, M., 351, 353. 

Necker, Mme., 353. 

Necker de Saussure, 334, 354. 

Nelson, Lord, 277. 

Newcastle, Duke of, 99. 

Newgate, 373, 374. 

New Orleans, 298. 

" Nicholson's Journal," 258. 

Norbury, Lord, 238. 

Norbury Park, 330. 

Normanbj% Lord, 434. 

Norris, Dr., 15. 

" North American Review," 359. 

North Carolina, 93. 

OlIPHANT, Mrs., 537. 

O'Neill, Lord, 253. 

O'Neill, Miss, 253, 254. 

Opie, Mrs., 237. 

Oriel, Lord, 105. 

"Ormond," 77, 306-308, 311, 

Ossory, Lord, 163. 
Oxford, 20, 335. 

PaHENHAM, Admiral (Lord 

Longford), 83,219, 2.31. 
Pakenham, Sir Edward, 219, 298, 

Pakenham, Lady Elizabeth, 210, 

Pakenham, Capt. Hercules, 221, 

Pakenham, Kitty. (See "Welling- 
Pakenham Hall, 83, 84, 210, 214, 

230, 231, 238, 203, 304, 306, 400, 

Pakenham, Thomas, 8, 9. 
Palgrave, 137. 



Palmerston, Lord, Idi, 197. 

" Parent's Assistant," 90, 102, 103, 

Paris, IGO, 192, 335, 346, 354, 361, 

409, 525, 
Park, Dr., 303. 
Parr, Dr., 273, 278. 
Passy, 162, 181, 182. 
Pastoret, M. de, 168. 
Pastoret, Mme. de, 168, 169, 335. 
"Patronage," 10, 177, 178, 227, 

234, 248, 256, 257, 263, 266, 284, 

290, 444. 
Peabody, Rev. W. B. O., 449, 

Pelham, Mr.,99. 
Pepys, Sir William, 376. 
Pestalozzi, 134. 
Petty, Lord Henry. (See Lans- 

" Peveril," 382. 
Pevisham, 323. 
Phillips, Mrs., 275. 
Pictet, Marc Auguste, 144, 153, 

160, 346. 
Pictet, M., de Rochemont, 354. 
Pitt, 164, 306. 
Playfair, Professor, 194, 196, 199, 

200, 384. 
Pneumatic institution, 156, 157. 
Polignac, Duke and Ducbesse de, 

Pollard, Mrs., 230. 
Poole, Mr., 227. 
Pope, 91. 

" Popular Plays," 300. 
"Popular Tales," 203, 212, 220, 

233, 285, 300, 331. 
Portsmouth, 379. 
Potemkin, Princess, 339. 
Powerscourt, Lord, 197, 253. 
Powys, Mr. and Mrs. Henry, 

Powys, Mrs., 89,92,97. 
Powys, iliss, 351. 

Pozzo di Borgo, 338. 

"Practical Education," 99, 128, 

129, 134, 136, 141, 172, 225. 
Pregny, 347, 353. 
Prescott, W. H., 494, 514. 
Prevost, M. and Mme., 346. 
Priestley, Dr., 529. 
Primate of Ireland. (See Stuart.) 
Princess of Wales, 273. 
Pritchard, Mrs., 377. 
"Professional Education," 208, 

224, 225, 229, 234, 246, 249. 
Prony, M., 161, 336, 337, 343. 

"Quarterly Review." 

(See " London Quarterly.") 
Queen Charlotte, 217. 
Queen Elizabeth, 2. 
Queen Henrietta Maria, 3. 
Queen Victoria, 506. 

Ralston, Gerald, 372, 493. 

Randall, Miss, 347, 353. 
Randolph, Mr., 379. 
" Readings on Poetry," 300. 
Re'camier, Mme., 171, 179, 335, 

Re'camier, M., 336. 
Relfe, Lupton, 402, 406, 
Rennie, Mr., 220. 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 376, 436. 
Rhone, 52-54. 
Ricardo, Mr. David, 367, 372, 

Richmond, Duke of, 299. 
"Rivuletta," 89. 
Rive, M. de la, 346. 
Robinson, Romney, 255, 503, 508, 
Robinson, Henry Crabbe, 273, 
Rocca, M., 317. 
Rocca, Alphouse, 348, 352. 
Rochejaquelin, Mme. de la, 359. 
Roehamptou, 97. 
Rogers, Samuel, 270, 272, 274, 280, 




Roissey, Mme. de, 331. 


"Romance of tlie Forest," 96. 

Romilly, Lady, 311, 491. 

Roinilly, Sir Samuel, 73, 1G6, 325, 

♦' Rosamond," 102, 353, 362, 444. 
Roscoe, Mr., 267. 
Rosliu Castle, 392. 
Rosse, Lord, 410. 
Rosstrevor, 438. 
Rousseau, 50, 52, 134, 162, 167, 169, 

Rowton, Lord, 254. 
Royal Irish Academy, 495. 
Royal Society, 136. 
Royer-Collard, 339. 
Ruioford, Countess de, 327, 345, 

Raskin, John, 536. 
Russell, Lord John, 165, 322. 
Russia, Emperor of, 335. 
Rutland, Duchess of, 374. 
Ruxton, Mrs., 89, 105, 141, 174, 

202, 204, 214, 232, 340, 363, 382, 

429, 430, 432. 
Ruxton, Mr. John, 40. 

SaLA, George Augustus, 43. 

Salisbury, 368. 

" Sandford and Merton," 73, 87, 

Scott, Lady, 390, 394, 401, 426, 

Scott, Sir Walter, 195, 210, 215, 

264, 268, 269, 291, 297, 298, 303, 

313, 331, 369, 370, 375, 379, 384, 

387, 401, 411, 418, 420, 431, 435, 

442, 443, 452, 471. 
Scott, Sir Walter (Capt.), 411, 412, 

Schlegel, 471. 

Sebright, Sir John, 370, 426. 
Segur, Comte de, 172. 
Selkirk, Lord, 222, 249. 

Seward, Anna, 31, 33-36, 43, 45, 
54, 55, 59, 87, 89, 207, 306, 325, 
Seward, Rev. Mr., 36. 

Seymour, Lord Webb, 197. 

Shakspeare, 178. 

Sharpe, 3i)0, 434. 

Shelburue, Earl of, 166, 320, 323. 

Sheridan, 128, 254, 256, 257, 326, 

Sicard, Ahh4, 172. 

Siddons, Mrs., 271, 272, 274, 278, 
283, 284, 375, 377. 

Sigourney, Mrs. L. H., 492. 

" Simple Susan," 102, 443. 

Simpkiu & Marshall, 511, 512. 

Sinclair, Mr., 298. 

Sinclair, Miss Catherine, 297, 298. 

Sismondi, M., 352. 

Slough, 379. 

Small, Dr., 38, 57, 58. 

Smith, Lady, 451. 

Smith, Sir Culling, 451. 

Smith, Mr., 283. 

Smith, Mr. ("Rejected Address- 
es "), 368. 

Smith, Sydney, 167, 321, 503, 504, 

Sneyd, Misses Mary and Char- 
lotte, 101, 113, 131, 135, 313, 378, 
447, 466, 467, 488, 493. 

Sneyd, Miss Elizabeth, 46, 48, 50, 
52, 53, 70, 71, 238, 247. 

Sneyd, Miss Honora, 31, 36, 42, 
47, 49, 50, 54. 

Sneyd, Mr. Edward, 36, 48. 

Sneyd, Mr. William, 65. 

Somerville, Mrs., 370, 375, 434,440, 

Sonna, 145, 149, 214. 

Sotheby, 274. 

Southey, Robert, 139, 156, 355. 

Souvestre, 6mile, 331. 

Spencer, Earl, 225. 

Spencer, Lady, 272, 277, 324. 



Spire at Edgeworthstown, 255, 

Spragiic, Rev. William B., 481. 

Stael, Augusts de, 272, 347, 348, 

Stael, Mme. de, 67, 172, 272, 275, 
279, 287, 306, 317, 318, 321, 329, 
330, 334, 347, 348, 351-353, 366, 
371, 431, 471, 530, 536. 

Staffa, Laird of, 389, 390, 391. 

Staffordshire, 313. 

Stanhope, Lord, 277. 

Stark, Mrs. , 315, 453. 

Stevens, Rev. W. B., 35. 

Stewart, Dugald, 99, 163, 194, 197, 
325, 326, 383. 

Stewart, Mrs. Dugald, 194, 197, 
199, 383. 

Stewart, Col., 453, 463. 

Stoke Newington, 273. 

Stonehenge, 368. 

Story, Chief Justice, 425. 

Strackey, Miss, 367. 

Strutt, Mr. William, 96, 136, 

Stuart, Rev. Mr. (Primate of Ire- 
land), 232. 

Suard, M., 169. 

Suard, Mme., 172. 

Swetchine, Mme., 339, 

Sydney, Sabrina, 41, 46, 53, 57. 

TaGUS, 97 

Talleyrand, 361, 433. 

Talma, 427. 

*' Tarlton," 102. 

"Take for Granted," 403, 422, 

429, 468, 469. 
" Tales of Fashionable Life," 233, 

Taylor, Ann, 143, 144. 
Taylor, Jane, 303. 
Taylor. William, 137, 195. 
Temple, Lord, 197. 
"Thady," 78, 147, 172, 457. 

" The Absentee," 256-258, 263, 289, 

" The Bracelet," 90, 102. 
" The Bracelet of JSIemory," 353. 
" The Contrast," 256, 367. 
" The False Key," 102. 
" The Honest Boy and the Thief," 

" The Mental Thermometer," 

" The Mimic," 102. 
"The Orange Man," 102. 
" The Purple Jar," 102. 
Thomson, Mr Thomas, 384. 
Ticknor, Mr. George, 168, 331, 

465, 472, 473, 488, 494, 517. 
Ticknor, Mrs. George, 465, 490. 
Tollendal, Lally, 172. 
" Toys and Tasks," 99, 101. 
Trentham, 327. 
Trimblestone, Lord, 15, 16. 
Trim, 427, 501, 503, 507, 522, 528. 
Tuite, Jane, 2. 
Tuite, Sir Edmond, 2. 
Tuite, Mr., 145. 

" Vivian," 230, 257. 

Vinde, M. de, 340. 

Waller, Mr., i4i. 

Walpole, Horace, 271. 

Ward, R., 305. 

Ward and Dudley, Lord, 197, 286, 

306, 435. 
Warwick, 12. 
Watt, Mr., 38, 96, 136, 161, 327, 

Watts, Miss, 157-159. 
" Waverley," 291, 297, 315. 
Wedgwood, Mr. Josiah, 38, 96, 

Wellington, Duke of, 217, 330. 
Wellington, Duchess of (Kitty 

Pakenham), 83, 217, 274, 435, 




"Westmeath, 111, 114. 
"Westminster Abbey, 275. 
Wbitbread, Lady Elizabeth, 272, 

328, 372, 378, 503. 
White, Lydia, 238, 273, 375, 377. 
Wliitworth, Lord, 180. 
AVilberforce, William, 329, 365. 
William IV., 253. 
Wilson, Mrs. Fanny, 435, 503, 

Wilson, Mrs. Elizabeth, 446. 

Wilson, Capt. Lo Stock, 138. 
Wilton House, 3()8. 
Wilkinson, Mrs., 377. 
Windsor, 379. 
Wooton, 330. 
Wordsworth, 432. 
Wycombe Abbey, 365, 366. 

Yates, miss, 402. 

York, 193. 

Young, Professor, 202. 







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13 1962 




OCT 1 2 1967